MakerBot | Let’s Talk about the Smart Extruder

IMPORTANT UPDATE: We’ve seen significant improvements to print quality and reliability with MakerBot Desktop 3.4 and MakerBot Firmware 1.5. If you haven’t already, please download the latest version of MakerBot Desktop and then use it to update your MakerBot Firmware. NOTE: When printing files via the USB port, your printer’s internal storage, or your Library, reprepare (reslice) them through MakerBot Desktop to achieve the best results. Files that are not reprepared (resliced) will not achieve best results.

Let’s Talk
Here at MakerBot, we’ve been heads down, continually iterating and improving on our latest hardware and software. We’ve been busy. We’ve been growing. It’s been exciting.

But we realize we’ve been too focused about what’s ahead and that we haven’t been letting you know about the upcoming features and improvements we’ve been working on, or communicating enough with you about your concerns with our products. We haven’t been responding to your issues fast enough either.

How We’re Going to Do Better
We’re putting fixes in place to help our Support team help you. We’re beefing up our online Support pages so quick answers are easier to find. We’re improving our software and firmware so it will enhance and refresh the capabilities of your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers and Smart Extruders and make them work better for you. We’ll soon tell you when you can expect these new software releases and what they will contain. And we’ll be talking with you more and more, in every way we can, about what you can expect from MakerBot and our products.

Today, let’s talk about the Smart Extruder.


Why We Made the Smart Extruder
During our five years of conversations, MakerBot customers have identified these key extruder concerns:

–Workflow: When an extruder stops, work stops.
–Time: Customers don’t want to interrupt work to service extruders.
–Wear: Extruders naturally wear out.

The modular, easily swappable MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder addresses these challenges. The Smart Extruder enables you to:

–Minimize downtime.
–Plan ahead for natural wear.

We’re very excited about the possibilities the Smart Extruder design represents. That’s why it’s a central component of our most recent generation of 3D printers. 

Challenges and Tips
However, we’ve heard from some of you that you’re having challenges with your Smart Extruders. As avid 3D printers, we understand the frustration of failed prints and lost time. We get it. So we want to share some of our favorite Smart Extruder features and some helpful tips we’ve learned over the past few months.

Cooling Down and Careful Filament Loading Go a Long Way
To help prevent clogging, always let your printer fully complete the filament loading and unloading procedures. Never remove filament from the Smart Extruder before instructed to do so by your 3D printer’s control panel or MakerBot Desktop.

After finishing a print, your 3D printer cools the Smart Extruder to quickly harden melted filament. Always wait until your Smart Extruder has cooled to 50° C (122° F) before turning off your MakerBot 3D Printer. This process can take a few minutes, but if you turn off your 3D printer before the Smart Extruder is fully cooled, you risk a higher chance of a clog forming.

Smart Sensors Mean More Finished Jobs and Less Waste
The Smart Extruder’s sensors provide real-time feedback to your 3D printer’s motherboard, and MakerBot Desktop and MakerBot Mobile apps, and instantly pause a print when the absence of filament is detected.

These unique sensors save you time by letting you know when you need to change filament, minimizing the risk of losing a print. For example, if you note an issue with filament, you can easily swap out the Smart Extruder and finish your project.


Swapping a Smart Extruder Is Almost Effortless

Powerful magnets help snap your Smart Extruder firmly into place in just seconds. No tools required. If you include the time it takes to load and unload filament, you’re still back to printing in just minutes and your downtime is minimal. This swap-ability will also allow you to quickly adapt to changes (such as new filament materials) in the fast-evolving world of 3D printing.

For helpful Smart Extruder installation tips, see the links at the bottom of this post.

More On The Way
Thanks for your feedback. We’re listening and we’re determined to improve your MakerBot experience. In the coming weeks, we’ll regularly post additional tips and videos about the Smart Extruder and our MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers. And stay tuned for our list of coming software improvements and when you can expect them.

For more details about topics covered in this blog post, follow these links:

MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer
How to install the Smart Extruder
How to unload filament

MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer
How to install the Smart Extruder
How to unload filament

MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer
How to install the Smart Extruder
How to unload filament

Tagged with 271 comments

271 Comments so far

  • Mark Durbin
    September 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    ’bout time too! I have to admit to being a little incredulous, time will tell.

  • nlauerman
    September 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    When did MakerBot know SmartExtruders weren’t working as advertised and why has it taken this long to admit it? What are you going to do for the customers who have wasted hundreds of hours and dollars on failed prints because of a part that you’re now saying clogs and fails because you never even explained how to unload filament from it?

    • Kate
      September 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      We apologize for the delay in this information. We constantly iterate on our products, which means we are also constantly learning about them too and always working on improving them. Through continual use and testing these past several months, we have discovered some tips that should help performance and we hope that you give these a try.

  • Justin staton
    September 29, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    on my fourth replacement ..ours has been down for over a month. Pretty much gave up on the machine. What can you guys do to help’? It clogs mid print and I waist filament – not cheap when a print blows… Machine wasn’t cheap to purchase either. My son sold his favorite dirt bike to get the 5th gen and he can’t even use it.. Breaks my heart and his as well..I should have followed the Google blog and returned it.. It’s been down longer than working… Not to mention my son thinks it’s my fault.. Thanks fellas

    • Kate Hannum
      September 30, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Hi Justin – have you been in touch with Support about these issues? If you have a case number, I can look into the problem for you and have a Support agent reach out.

  • Ken
    September 30, 2014 at 3:19 am

    Hey guys,

    Hopefully you can do this in time to salvage your reputation. Int he 3 years I have been working with agencies who do 3D printing the name “Makerbot” has gone from the safe, clear choice to a badge of naivete. You have squandered our good will, and have thrown away your advantages as an early leader.

    Just Monday I had several interactions with your company about a broken, defective printer and every one of them was frustrating, unsatisfying and offered no resolution to my issues.

    Do better. We bought your products because for a long time you were right by us… but if you don’t turn it around, you will be history.

    • Kate Hannum
      September 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      We appreciate the feedback, Ken, and are working to do better. Please stayed tuned to the blog over the next few weeks to learn more.

  • jetguy
    September 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Here at MakerBot Industries, we realize you the consumer have a choice in 3D printers .. Today it looks like you chose the wrong one.

    • Kate
      October 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Thank you for sharing your feedback. Please know that we are dedicated to supporting our products and customers and are working diligently to provide additional support and improvements.

  • Brad
    September 30, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Other than wait with a $1,000 paperweight what can I do to get my printer working? Can’t even get help registering my mini on the support site. . [ ref:_00D30W6XV._50013l92lE:ref ]

    • Kate
      October 1, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Brad – Thanks for being commenting here and on Twitter today. Glad we were able to get in touch, and please reach out again if you need anything.

  • Rob
    October 1, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Couldn’t agree more with Ken,

    I’m in education and have ALWAYS recommended MakerBot. I have 5 MakerBots (no gen 5s), and have until recently been treated amazingly by MakerBot service. That was up until a month ago. The amazing makerbot service is now dead.

    With all the gen5 problems (that no one seems to admit to), the new change in customer service policies, the $100 a call BS, the way MakerBot treated a friend of mine who bought a Z80 off ebay, etc, etc, I’ll now NEVER recommend makerbot again.

    Its a shame, I’ve sold a ton of printers for makerbot. I used to believe in them. Since the buyout, its all about money now. I’m currently looking for the next makerbot, someone with a great product and great support.

    Bye MakerBot, it was nice, wish it would have lasted longer

    • Kate
      October 1, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Rob – We apologize for losing your trust, and will work to earn it back. Please stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect.

  • don
    October 1, 2014 at 10:49 am

    My second smart extruder just clogged and no longer works. but no one at MakerBot will know because your support site is not working and as usual the phone line is set to endless hold music. I guess all the money from Makercare goes into PR BS to support the Bree Pettis is great story. How are we supposed to trust the company to fix it’s products when you can’t keep a website running….

  • Rich
    October 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm


    We borrowed a replicator 2 last summer from the local high school to demo for our STEM program. It work awesome! Printed non-stop! students were excited to see their work. No issues.

    This Spring we bought a replicator 5th generation. Since April of this year we have returned our 1st replicator because the wiring was missing for the camera. When we receive our 2nd one the replicator the extrude failed, then our 2nd one failed, then we were told there is a new extruder being made. We waited a month. and now the 3rd new extruder is producing the same results. I have a ticket in an I’m wondering how long it will take to get a response from a human this time…hopefully less than a week.

    Our local high school has 7 of the same make. I’ve sent an inquiry and I am curious to see what their experience has been.

    I have a tech meeting tomorrow with 40 other school districts in the area and I will inquire what their experience has been or what they have heard from others.

    I understand product development, QC, and testing products. I’m a bit stumped how my school district got chumped in to paying $3000 for a beta product.

    We are terribly frustrated and disappointed. We are tired of waiting for a fix and our students are also expressing the same feelings.

    Less talk, more action!
    After reading all of the recent customer distress (this blog post and see google) and former employees spilling on Glassdoor, it seems you guys are almost at the point of no return.

    “Sorry” does not fix things.

    I apologize for my demeanor. I don’t mean to shoot the messenger. I want the CEO to fix things and I will get his attention. The product has great potential. The problem is that Makerbot is using their customers as guinea pigs and well…I’m sure you get the picture.


    • Kate
      October 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Rich –

      We are very sorry that you’ve had such a negative experience. Expect a support agent, Alex, to reach out to this email to make things right.

  • Rich
    October 2, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks Kate. I’ll wait for Alex but hopefully not too long 🙂

    Dave – I’ll try those settings.. Thanks!

  • Rich
    October 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Dave – created the custom profile. It did print better but my extruder is still failing mid job.

    When I get the 4th extruder I will use the custom profile though..

    thanks again.

  • Jay
    October 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    It’s my third time the “smart” extruder is clogged, and it breaks about the time I want to use it for my projects. This blog post makes me even mad because it talks like its my fault the machine is being clogged.
    One thing that makerbot did a great job is the easy use of the machine. It will tell u how to level build plate or how to change filament. It tells u every single step, very user friendly. the question is WHY DOES IT KEEP CLOGGING!!!!!!!!!!!
    I need to get in contact with support to get a replacement. Instead I keep getting “DateTime::__construct() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given” error message. In addition, it drives me even more mad how CUSTOMER SERVICE & SALES works on Saturday but tech support doesn’t. Now Im complaining here because it seems like the only way to reach support.

    • Jodie
      October 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Jay – We apologize for the wait and we’re sorry to hear about your experience. If you can send a quick email to thoughts(at)makerbot(dot)com with your case number, I’d love to help by looking into it for you.

  • Jung Won Hong
    October 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    In addition this is not the quality of after service I should be getting after paying 370 dollar per year.

    • Jodie
      October 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Hi Jung – Please know that we are dedicated to supporting our products and customers and are working diligently to provide additional support and improvements.

  • Sal
    October 7, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I just wanted to agree with a number of posters here about the problems with the smart extruder. Mine has been clogging for the last several weeks and I am unable to finish most prints. I have only had the printer since August, so I cannot imagine that the extruder should be shot by now.

    It’s frustrating because I have a classroom full of students who have been working for two weeks to design solutions to a problem and now we are unable to print out any of their awesome designs!

    • Jodie
      October 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Sal – Have you been in touch with Support about these issues? If you have a case number, I can look into the problem for you and have a Support agent reach out.

  • Sal
    October 9, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I opened a case today. But, it looks like I am going to have to pay to talk to someone, is that correct? If that is the case, I will be out of luck I am sure because there is no way my school is going to start approving $$ to be spent on support for an item that we have only had for a few months. I understand the need to try to push for the extended warranty (MakerCare), but when I tried to get that approved I was told that there was no way that we could spend $350 a year for support issues.

    • Jodie
      October 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Sal – We are so sorry you had negative experiences. Could you possibly email your contact info and case number to thoughts(at)makerbot(dot)com? I’d like to look into it for you and get you up and running again.

  • Brad
    October 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Sal: My story matches yours. My extruder arrived and I did not get one print before the first clog. Makerbot has put up a paywall between themselves and their customers.

    We should be on the same team but there is a one sided conversion going on. I want to print, I want to like the product but Makerbot is making it hard for me because there is no two-way conversions going on.

    • Jodie
      October 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Brad – We’re really sorry to hear that and we appreciate your feedback! We’re listening and we’re determined to improve your MakerBot experience. Please stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect.

  • Bill
    October 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I’ve had all the same problems with clogged extruders. I can’t imagine how many clogged extruders the Makerbot service department must have. It really appears that the only way for Makerbot to salvage their reputation is to redsign the extruder at amazing speed. Many of us have taken it apart to clear clogs and it’s obvious that the design is flawed… but improvements could be made. You made it easy to take off but why not easier to take apart to clear a clog? The only silver lining is that you could redesign the extruder.

    If you don’t, 5th generation Makerbots will be sitting broken in the corner of hackerspaces, engineering labs and classrooms, advertising the sad story of the smart extruder and Makerbot. RIP.


    • Jodie
      October 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Bill – Thank you for sharing your feedback! We constantly iterate on our products. which means we are also continually learning about them too and always working to improve them. Please be sure to stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect.

  • Ryan Weaving
    October 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I purchased the Z18 and have had nothing but problems with the so called smart extruders. I did not pay the extra $750 for the crappy tech support. I purchased additional smart extruders hoping to fix the issues. After waiting over a month for it to arrive one of the extuders new out of the box was bad. The other is now clicking halfway though its first print. It is total BS that these are to help improve performance and reliability. I have over 7000 hours on the extruder on my Replicator 1 with no major issues. My Z18 was down for over a month waiting for a replacement extuder.

    • Jodie
      October 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Hi Ryan – We’re extremely sorry to hear you’ve had a negative experience with the Z18. We constantly iterate on our products, which means we are also continually learning about them and always working to improve. I can look into the shipment of your replacement extruder if you can supply me with your case number.

  • sal
    October 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Jodie was able to get me in touch with at tech support person, and I have sent my extruder back and am supposed to get a new one shipped to me. Hopefully that will go quickly. But, while dealing with the tech person, he told me that the average run time of the extruders before needing replaced is 200 hours on average.

    200 hours? That seems ridiculous to me! A Mini-Kossel or Prusa are supposed to go for 10-20 THOUSAND hours on average based on my research. And even then, you might only need to replace a $20 part instead of the whole thing.

    Please tell me the tech forgot to add a couple of zeroes to that total, because I am beginning to think I made a horrible decision in choosing this printer!

    • Jodie
      October 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      Although we don’t know what the optimal hours would be, we can guarantee sophistication in the technology of our swappable Smart Extruder!

  • Sal
    October 15, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I just wanted to add a little bit to my previous post.

    I talked my principal into biting the bullet and ordering some new smart extruders (3-pack for $495) simply because the reality is we have already invested $3000 in the machine and my students deserve to print the things they have been working so hard on all quarter.

    However, I am seriously rethinking placing that order…and I hate to say it, I may have to look into returning the printer altogether. The more research I am doing, the more I am disappointed in how many people are sharing sob stories so similar to mine.

    I’m sorry, but schools like mine do not have the luxury of spending this amount of money on what is currently the world’s largest paperweight. For that amount, you should get at least a year or two of worry-free performance.

    • Jodie
      October 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Sal – The MakerBot Smart Extruder was designed to help with the most common issues a 3D printer extruder can have! However, much like the tires on a car, extruders have a lifespan. The amount of time between changes depends on you particular driving conditions or your particular 3D printing projects. And, like car tires, it’s always wise to keep a spare on hand. Our Smart Extruder is loaded with valuable technology that enhances the 3D printing experience on the whole.

  • Jake
    October 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Sorry to say we have only printed ONE part with our Z18, WE paid for the so called support ( is anybody there? ) bought a new extruder in hopes that it would fix the problems NOPE. Why did you put out a new product that does not work? I have not heard or read one good comment yet. This thing is a nice looking paper weight. Our last ticket # is 00241019. Will you be extending the paid support until you have a product that is ready for the masses? I surely did not have a problem contacting the sales staff when I was getting ready to buy…..You really need to fix this if it’s not to late.

    • Jodie
      October 16, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Jake – We’re listening and we’re determined to improve your MakerBot experience! You can read one of our latest blogs on how we’re working hard to help you by providing you with several outlets of support here: I’ve also looked into your case and have notified support. One of our team members should be in contact with you soon. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience!

  • Edgar
    October 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    We have had nothing but issues since purchasing a Z18 printer. Support has been of no help and the moment we said we wanted to return it we stopped hearing form makerbot all together. We have been calling and emailing trying to get in touch with someone to work out some kind of agreement and have been unsuccessful. For the past 3 weeks our printer has been nothing but an expensive paper weight.

    • Jodie
      October 16, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      Hi Edgar – We apologize for the delay in response! Can you supply us with your case number? I’d like to look into it and see what we can do to get you up and running ASAP.

  • Parrish Wong
    October 16, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Hi Jodie – I have only just pickup a Gen 5 and to find this blog afterwards has raised real concerns on if I have made the right choice. I was told by sales after I bought the unit that the extruder only last about five – six hundred hours. Given the rate at which the printer uses filament, I would need to a new extruder every three to four reel’s. This actually double the cost of printing vs other brands

    Makerbot need to supply extruder at the same price which last at least 3000 hours, to be on par with others.

    More transparency on what you are do to address the concerns is require to restore the trust. Hard commitment on what you are doing and by when is required

    • Jodie
      October 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Hi Parrish – We’re happy you chose MakerBot and hope you are enjoying 3D printing with your MakerBot Replicator.

      The MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder is a sophisticated piece of technology designed to provide a better 3D printing experience and more information as you 3D print. One of the exciting features of the MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder is its modular, swappable design—it is made to be easily exchanged or replaced.

      Much like the tires on a car, extruders have a lifespan. They need to be changed occasionally for optimal performance. And it’s always wise to keep a spare on hand. Of course, the amount of time between changes depends on your particular driving conditions or your particular 3D printing projects.

  • Ivan
    October 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    I have a Makerbot Mini that has not printed successfully since prior to Oct 11th. (its only 2 months old). I sent an email (ref:_00D30W6XV._50013lacMb:ref) received a reply asking for pictures of the failed prints or video, which I supplied and I have heard nothing since. Reading the above, it seems clear something fundamentally wrong. For 2 months everything printed fine and then “wispy prints” constantly or jamming. I don’t want to RMA a smart-extruder constantly is this a software problem/firmware issue. Someone mentioned custom profiles can you share those?

    As for the post above about “wear and tear”, this device is 2 months old and maybe printed 20 items before failing, if a tire company had that track record they wont last long!

    • Jodie
      October 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Ivan – I just checked and saw that the Support staff received your case. Alfredo has e-mailed you with information on the failed prints you’ve been experiencing and your MakerBot’s homing issues. Let us know if you are still having problems and we’d be happy to help. Thanks for all your patience!

  • FrustratedinFargo
    October 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    You use a tire analogy, but if the smart extruder were really a set of tires, they would blow out before you got down the street (and sometimes even before you get out of the driveway). Frankly, I’d be happy to get 100-200 hours out of one. Right now it’s less than 1-2.

    Put it another way – is there anyone who *isn’t* having issues with the printers? If so, then why are so many having them? What’s the issue? Are we doing something different or wrong? Is it a quality control problem? Is it a software problem? Is it a hardware problem?

    Do you guys even know what the actual problem is?

    • Jodie
      October 22, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Hi – we wanted to make sure you have taken a couple steps to ensure your MakerBot is up to date and working optimally. Firmware and software updates are continually being implemented that improve the 3D printing quality and features. If you’re not using the current firmware version, we advise you to download the latest here: This could also be a possible solution to the complications you’ve been experiencing with your extruder. Please be sure to let us know if you see any improvements. If not, please make sure you open a support ticket and our Support team will be happy to assist you.

  • Jesse
    October 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I have had nothing but problems with my extruder since I bought my printer about two months ago. I’ve had the extruder replaced, sent the entire printer back in, and now I have another extruder jam that has completely ruined the extruder. It’s clear these extruders just aren’t cutting it. I feel like I spent $3500 to just waste plastic and time. The few prints that have worked has looked amazing, but that just makes me even more annoyed that I can’t do anything with printer. So much lost potential.

    • Jodie
      October 19, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Jesse – So sorry to hear you’ve been having problems with our Smart Extruder. We’re listening and working to do better! I also see you have a case open with our Support team, so I’ll make sure that someone is in touch with you soon.

  • sal
    October 19, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Clearly, the Makerbot team has come up with this ridiculous “car tire” analogy that you are suddenly using. Parts wear down over time, we get it.

    But just about everbody in these comments are not dealing with normal wear and tear issues. And, you seem to be ignoring that. My extruder failed well under 100 hours of print time. To use your analogy right back at you, this is the equivalent of a sidewall blowing out just after driving the car off the lot!

    There is a clear problem with the design of this extruder. Instead of patronizing your customers and trying to deflect the issue, inform us what specifically is being done to help us!

    Also, can you please check on the status of my replacement extruder? The tech person told me he would ship it as soon as he received the notification that I had returned mine. But I shipped it last Monday and have heard nothing about the new one being shipped.

    Please help all of us!

    • Jodie
      October 22, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Hi Sal,

      We want you to know that we hear you and we’re working our hardest to improve the MakerBot experience for our customers! I reached and and discussed your issue with our Support team and Alex will be contacting you with the status of your replacement extruder.

  • Bart
    October 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    My office bought a new Repilcator Z18 that was delivered on 10/10/14. It had a few setup issues requiring removing, and reloading the filament multiple times, but I got it to print two test pieces even though the smart extruder was making odd clicking noises. I tried changing filament on 10/14, and ran into problems…filament wouln’t release easily, and ultimately the new filament wouldn’t load properly. No matter what I try, it won”t print, and trying to unload/load the filament results in a loud hammering sound, followed by notice that it’s jammed. I called Makerbot customer care, found out we didn’t have Maker Care (nobody mentioned it to my purchasing officer), and have been waiting a week without any follow up save the e-mail that our case was opened. Having to wait a week for any sort of customer support is ridiculous. Our case is #00240877.

    I also tried to set up our Makerbot Digitizer, and realized the camera filter is missing.

    A number of our other offices (over 50 across the country) are considering 3D printers, and if this isn’t resolved quickly, I’ll be telling our national coordinator to point them in a different direction.

    • Jodie
      October 20, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Chris – I’ll have your Support agent reach out to rectify this situation. So sorry for the negative experience!

  • Ian M
    October 21, 2014 at 5:21 am

    The replacement smart extruder we were sent didn’t work. I sent an E-mail to your support team to request a replacement 4 weeks ago. I still haven’t received a reply. I have chased this on multiple occasions. I can’t criticise your organisation enough, you are no longer even responding to your technical support emails. All I can do is warn other educational establishments not to purchase your faulty un-supported products.

    • Jodie
      October 21, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Hi Ian – I’m sorry for the delay in response! Do you have a support case number? We’d love to help by looking into it for you.

  • Gwen
    October 21, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I am set to receive my 4th smart extruder for the printer I purchased in July. I have had more downtime than print time with failures, waiting for support and then waiting for replacement extruders. I have asked for reasons these extruders keep failing and like many others here have been very disappointed in this product. I chose Makerbot because of your reputation but now when people ask me about it, I cannot recommend your printers.
    Your apologies do not ease my concerns at all at this point. I think we are all looking for solutions not words. It is all well and good that you say you are “listening and determined to improve” but maybe it is time to go back to the basics and recognize that this smart extruder is poorly designed at best and a total failure at worst. Perhaps retool with one of your previous extruders.
    Find a solution. This whole situation is beyond ridiculous.

    • Jodie
      October 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Gwen – We have different departments working on these improvements, but you’re right – our priority should be and is our product. We truly do hope you stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect.

  • Ian M
    October 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Hi Jodie,

    The support ref copied from the E-mail is. ref:_00D30W6XV._50013l7k1r:ref. I am not sure which part of the ref is pertinent.



    • Jodie
      October 22, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Hi Ian – I’ve notified Support, and a team member should be reaching out to you soon. Thanks for your patience.

  • Ian M
    October 22, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Hi Jodie,

    The ref copied from the E-mail is “ref:_00D30W6XV._50013l7k1r:ref.” I am not sure which part is pertinent.



  • Sal
    October 22, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    On Sunday, I tried to reply to some of the “Car Tire” analogies that were mentioned upthread, but I guess I did not submit the response because it never got posted.

    In any event, I find that analogy at best silly and at worst offensive. I think we all understand that over time parts will wear out and need replaced. But, virtually nobody in the comments is dealing with that type of issue. Most of us have used the extruder for a very short time (Some not at all) before the thing broke. So, it’s not a wear-and-tear issue, it is simply a product that appears to have major issues!

    In any event, I finally got my replacement extruder today and I have my first print starting right now. I will see how things go with this new one.

    But, I also have a Purchase Order in my hand for a 3-pack of replacement extruders. However, I am going to hold off on submitting that until I see how this one performs and how the problems that people are encountering in this thread are resolved. If it appears that no solution is being reached and users who have paid $3000+ are being left out to dry, well, I will just tear that PO up and I will return this printer…I don’t care what the policy is.

    I currently have a Kossel and Prusa on order, so I don’t need MakerBot today, like I did a month ago. Let’s see if you guys keep me and the rest of my district as a customer or not.

    I’ll report back!

    • Jodie
      October 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Sal – Your previous comment was submitted and responded to. We’re also happy to hear you received your replacement extruder! Please be sure to keep us posted on the status of your print.

  • Edgar
    October 22, 2014 at 3:13 pm


    We spoke directly with Bradley Previti. He asked us to open a suppor case but when we tried the website was not working properly. We relayed this to Bradley and he notified us he would escalate our issues directly to the Directors of Support. We setup a conference call with support to go over possible solutions but support never called during our scheduled meeting. I have a string of emails stating all of this. At this point we don’t know what else to do.

    • Jodie
      October 23, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Edgar – Our staff has been in contact with your colleague, and have provided him with our number to get in contact with Technical Support. Although have no indication of a scheduled call, we’ll have Alex reach out to Steven shortly.

  • Sal
    October 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    First print of a small bookmark a success!

    But, Filament jam on the 2nd print!!

    Am fixing now, let’s see what happens

  • Ivan
    October 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Jodie: Can you give any guidance to what Makerbot thinks the problem is? Is it software/firmware solvable? Is it something bad like the circuit boards in the extruder cannot take the consistent heat and are failing? I mean the guts of the extruder are pretty simple, wheel, castlenut, spring tensor, heat sink and hot end. I think 2 or 3 circuit boards. None of these parts would wear in weeks, but circuitry can be susceptible to heat. I think we would appreciate some guidance.

    Good teardown of extruder here:

    For my own extruder, Alfredo has said they are sending out one, but I asked for a tracking number or lead time, but haven’t gotten details as of yet?
    [ ref:_00D30W6XV._50013lacMb:ref ] My account doesnt have any info?

    • Jodie
      October 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Ivan – We’ve received notification that you can expect your extruder to be shipped by today! As for the used one, although extruders will naturally wear out, there are a few things you can do to make sure to get the most out of the extruder’s lifetime, especially allowing the extruder to cool completely.

  • Sal
    October 23, 2014 at 8:17 am

    After 2 filament jams on my 2nd print which were fairly easily resolved, I got a perfect print of a pencil box that one of my students made. The print took just over 11 hours to complete.

    So far, so good.

    • Jodie
      October 23, 2014 at 9:47 am

      We’re glad to hear that Sal! Thanks for the update.

  • David H.
    October 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm


    After the solidoodle at my work started to kick the bucket I requisitioned the purchase of a MakerBot Replicator 5th generation and after reading this blog am feeling a little nervous about my decision. I printed the “Mr. Jaws” that was already installed on the printer and wasn’t very impressed with the over all quality, outside layers were patchy and had holes in them.

    I decided to print another one to see if these issues would be resolved and got the same quality of shark, albeit I started to get the fearful clicking sound every once in a while. This started to make me really nervous since I was only about an hour into printing. I’ve found out that if I cancel the print and run the “load filament” routine it seems to clear itself out (as long as I don’t let it click for too long).

    Although this solves the clicking issue (only for a short time) it’s defeating the purpose, I have to cancel my print to do this. Now that being said, this was all done without the makerbot desktop, I did both the sharks right out of the box. My next job was to take a model I had created in with Solidworks and see if that would print (I used the Makerbot desktop for this). The printer prints really nice rafts, I’ll give it that, but for some reason the second it finishes support/rafts and moves on to actually printing my model I get super thin, spotty traces and the dreaded clicking noise; this leads me to believe it’s a firmware issue but I could be wrong. I’ve only had the printer a day (arrived on Oct. 24) so I will have to experiment a little longer with lowering the bed and adjusting temperatures to see if that works.

    I really don’t want to have to send this back because of all the hassle that is involved with that but I can’t suggest a $3000 printer to my boss that doesn’t print. I sometimes work with really tight deadlines and can’t be subjected to the massive down times that it looks like I may have to deal with.

    • Jodie
      October 27, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Hi David – Although you may see minor differences in a completed print then restarting your printer to remake that same model, you may want to try altering a few settings. The patchiness and holes may be caused by under extrusion. By adding extra shells, adjusting the speed of your print or even adjusting the extruder temperature, you may discover a quick fix. Also, if you’d like, we could help troubleshoot what could be causing the clicking you’re hearing. If you see any changes, please be sure to let us know.

  • Joe
    October 25, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Seems I made the wrong choice in not getting makercare for my z18… the thing hasn’t printed a clean print since I bought it. I think the extruder is failing on me already, there’s gaps in my prints even after raising the print temperature to 230C as suggested. Giant 7K paperweight.

    • Jodie
      October 26, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Hi Joe – If you’re experiencing gaps in your prints it’s possible that your print just isn’t getting enough plastic. This is called underextrusion. Adding extra shells or even adjusting the speed of your print could help. Check these tweaks out: If you don’t see any changes, be sure to let us know.

  • Sam
    October 27, 2014 at 8:28 am


    I bought replicator + Z18 this summer and i’m now sure that my printers will stay off until a new smart extruder annoucement will be posted.

    All my 5 smart extruder are rev F 2014

    My conclusion is that using printers with deffective head is more detrimental to the mechanic than just turn off and waiting .

    Last exemple in date, Z18 completly lost XY position and is now unable to print more than 20′ without a filament JAM.

    My question and expectation is to now how long i’ve to wait ?

    PS : For sure i opened a ticket 00242944, no need to advise me 🙂

    • Jodie
      October 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Hi Sam – We are extremely sorry that you’ve had negative experiences with your MakerBot printers. As for your Z18, expect a Support Agent to reach out to the email address associated with your case to make things right.

  • jhon Carrillo
    October 27, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Los problemas con la Makerbot continúan a pesar de que fue enviada a soporte técnico, al regreso continuo con los mismo problemas de impresión ademas se sumo un problema de nivelación de la plataforma. actualizamos el Firmware pero continuo con el mismo problema al imprimir cualquier archivo, incluso los de la tienda digital de makerbot.

    Esto me esta afectando enormemente ya que la impresora fue adquirida con el fin de crear empresa que a la fecha aun no ha iniciado actividades por la fallas continuas de la makerbot; a esto se le suma los costos de envió que he asumido teniendo en cuenta que el ingreso de la makerbot a mi pais tiene unos costos elevados.

    Lo preocupante del caso es que la garantía expiro antes de solucionar los problemas de impresión y ahora no pudo subir el caso por que tengo que pagar 100 dolares para que me den respuesta por un equipo que no ha funcionado desde el principio

    Quiero que tomen en cuenta que soy de los primero clientes de Makerbot en Colombia e incluso mi intención era la de adquirir nuevos productos.

    • Jodie
      October 28, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Jhon – Thanks for getting in contact with us via Facebook as well! We will be in contact with you shortly to help sort this issue out. Thanks for your patience.

  • David H
    October 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Jodie – I took your advice and increased the extruder temperature and increased the shells from 2 to 3. It should also be noted that I created a custom profile to properly change these settings. Something I also did was to turn on “DynamicSpeed” which throttles the speed of the extruder depending on how tight of a turn you’re trying to make it do. After all these changes I have the printer working (so far) beautifully, no more clicking OR underextrusion.

    For anyone else that may benefit here is what I did:

    1. use a custom profile
    2. increase the temperature from 215 to 225
    3. increased shells from 2 to 3
    4. used a digital calliper to measure the thickness of my filament at 3 different spots and took the average of that (1.75 in my case). I then changed “feedDiameter” at the bottom of the config file under “extruderProfiles” from 1.77 to 1.75. When looking under “extruderProfiles” you will notice the same block of labels and they will look identical, only make changes to the first one. I have assumptions that the second block is reserved for dual extruders and will not apply to the makerbot 5th gen.

    I only have experience with one other 3D printer but these changes seemed to fix all of my problems, I will let you guys know if any problems come out of the woodworks.

    Thanks Jodie,

    • Jodie
      October 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Hi David – So glad that worked out for you! =)

  • Ivan
    October 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    I haven’t gotten my new extruder yet, but “David H.”‘s note above sounds VERY similar to mine. The printer seems to make EXCELLENT rafts and then very quickly fail to air printing the actual object. I will try his profile settings.

    Does anyone (including the support staff at Makerbot) have new/updated profiles they could recommend. The devices used to be at 230 and then were dropped to 215 and now we are increasing them again. Is there anything that is more robust. I would easily sacrifice some filament and have thicker prints if it would increase reliablity. What are rafts set to, I would like it to do that for everything! Here are 5 prints in a row, notice the rafts are GREAT! and only the 2 only right got any amount of percentage before crapping out.

    My own hypothesis is that the electronics are getting fired, which might be why makerbot dropped the temp from 230 to 215 (and warns in the above link that increasing temp may shorten life of the extruder.)

    • Jodie
      October 28, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Ivan – It seems as if your parcel has been delivered this morning. Please let us know if you have received already. Also, we want to make sure your MakerBot is up to date and working optimally. Firmware and software updates are continually being implemented that improve the 3D printing quality and features.

  • Patrick P
    October 28, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Jeez this is really distressing I bought the 5th gen 3 weeks ago and it will no longer complete a print with out jamming. I Have been following Makerbot since its start. I wanted one of the do it your self kits to build with my son. But as time passed you got bigger and better so bought one but even as i type this my Replicator has jammed 2 times. I am worried after reading all the negative comments here and wondering if it would be wiser to return the unit than to put up with bad customer support. i tried to create a ticket and all i get is a 404 connection error on the site. It is so bad it locks up the makerbot software and has to be rebooted for it to work. I love when it works but bad prints equal a waist of time and a 3000 dollar paper weight that I may now have to return

    • Jodie
      October 28, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Hi Patrick – So sorry to hear you’ve had negative experiences and we apologize for the inconvenience. If you call (347) 334-6800 and select option 3 between 9 AM and 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, one of our Customer Support Experts will be able to assist you.

  • Parrish
    October 28, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Jodie – Could you please ask David H, what profiles he has tested the changes on? (Low, Standard or High).

    Second thing is that I purchase my machine off a retailer and when I register it on the site, the warranty status is nil and so I can not log a support call with being charged. Could I not get at least email support for the first 60 days? Can you help with this? Thank you

    • Jodie
      October 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Parrish – I see you’ve purchased your Replicator 2 within this past month. Purchases made within the last 60 days are able to submit cases via email to Support as long as your printer is registered with its serial number. If you continue to experience trouble with the online support form, you can send a detailed email to thoughts(at)makerbot(dot)com and I’ll make sure it gets to the right person.

  • David H
    October 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    It looks like I may have jumped the gun about it printing perfectly. The increase in temperature seems to have only delayed the inevitable of under extrusion. It will make it about 10 minutes into the print @ 230C before I start hearing clicking sound again. What is the limit to the temperature, can I turn it up to 240C safely?

    • Jodie
      October 28, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Hi David – Sad to hear you’re still experiencing underextrustion. Since the clicking is also continuing, if you haven’t already, could you open a case with our team? From there they’ll be able to see what could be going wrong and assist accordingly.

  • Patrick P
    October 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I used David H suggestions and changed the settings as he described. I still get occasional clicking but I think it may be due to a possible thin or bad batch of White filament plus the Spool is getting low . It also seems a little more brittle than the other spools of PLA that I have. I did not use calipers so I kind of winged it. Picking up a set later today.

    I was also curious about how to change the Dynamic speed settings or even turn it on. Is there a better explanation. of these setting and how to change them. Possibly a key with the ranges up and down explained? It would be very helpful. There is a lot of data there with settings that can be changed and I would like to know more about it all.

    So far the only jam I have had since making the changes is the filament got bound on the spool. But was able to continue printing with minimal down time
    I am trying to complete a working Pipboy for Halloween So any and all help would be greatly appreciated

    • Jodie
      October 29, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Hi Patrick – Here’s a link to our MakerBot slicer settings specifically for speed: Hopefully this can help you out a bit. If you see any changes, please be sure to let us know. We want you to have your Pipboy completed for Halloween just as bad as you do! =)

  • Ivan
    October 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I got my extruder today, and printed something I have been trying to print for 2 weeks now, and it immediately worked (on the first print!). In the picture, from the right is when I started experiencing problems, and moving left, with today at the end. As you can see each time, the raft printed fine?!

    As you can imagine, I am both happy and worried. In 2 months will I need a new extruder again? What is the warranty of this replacement extruder? 6 months from the replacement, or just the original 6 months from the Makerbot?

    I can still not resolve myself to the fact that the old extruder can print rafts seemingly fine but nothing else?

    As for software, I am running the latest versions always. When is the next firmware, does Makerbot have any sense of what is failing? I would like to repair these if possible, but what is wrong?

    • Jodie
      October 29, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Hi Ivan – So happy to hear your package arrived safely! The MakerBot Limited Warranty applies to MakerBot hardware devices as well as the MakerBot Smart Extruder as well. You can read more about it in detail here: As for software, please stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect.

  • Parrish
    October 29, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Hi Jodie – I actually purchase a Replicator Gen 5 and now within a month of purchasing it, I am now having clog printing issues. Like David H when the clicking sound starts, gaps start to appear in the print job. What I can see going on is that the PLA feed motor is slipping on the PLA and this makes the clicking sound.

    I have sent an email though to [email protected] hopefully they will get me some email support.

  • Paul
    October 29, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Hello MakerBot friends,

    So I’m on my second Smart Extruder. I am extremely careful with loading and unloading the filament and for some reason when I attempt to load the filament, as the loading process starts it detaches the smart extruder from the machine. I think the extruder may be clogged. Is there a way to unclog it? Do I need to have a third extruder sent to me? I’m just frustrated. Thanks for any help.

    • Jodie
      October 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Hi Paul – Prior to loading your filament, have you made sure your Smart Extruder is properly installed? You can ensure this by running the extruder attachment script by going to Utilities > System Tools > Attach Smart Extruder, on your Replicator. Also, if you feel you may be dealing with clog, you can follow these steps guiding you how you clear a clogged extruder. If you continue to experience any complications, please be sure to let us know!

  • David H
    October 29, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Jodie – I have opened a support case #00244976 but am unsure about what kind of waiting time I should expect. Since my last comment on here my extruder has jammed up to the point where the “load filament” command only squirts out a tiny little bit, this has forced me to stop all work on the printer and wait for supports email.

    To anyone else that wants to collaborate look me up on Google+ “David Hogendoorn” I’ll be happy to share any ideas or fixes that I have come up with while experimenting with this printer. Hopefully these smart extruder problems ( I have a feeling they over complicated it ) will be fixed soon.

    • Jodie
      October 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Hi David – Sorry for the downtime you’ve been experiencing. Our Support Team tries to get to every one as quickly as they can but I will reach out to them and let them know. Thank you so much for your patience!

  • David Breski
    November 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I’ve tried to open a support case but I have been unable to do that. I asked for a password reset 3 times now but that doesn’t work either. I have 2 makerbot R5’s that were bought brand new and have been in use only since September. I’ve attempted about 75 prints with my students and at this point only about a third of them have actually printed successfully – stopping extruding about half way through but going on to finish in ‘thin air’. I’ve tried every trick I know in the book to get them to print and followed all the suggestions. So far we’ve managed to complete only one project – and with constant babysitting for the 3 hours it took to print-not a good start to the year. I hate to think I’m looking at replacing extruders every couple of months – my budget won’t support that.

    • Jodie
      November 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Hi David – Sorry to hear about the downtime you’ve been experiencing. If you’re having trouble with the web form you can call (347) 334-6800 and select option 3 between 9 AM and 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday to have one of our Customer Support Experts assist you. If unregistered, be sure to have the serial number of your MakerBot and Smart Extruder ready!

  • William
    November 4, 2014 at 1:16 am

    i have had my extruder replaced 3 times. and have have to admit i’ve pretty much given up on my makerbot 5th gen, because the smart extruder is designed to by thrown in the trash after a week. really quite disappointing.

    • Jodie
      November 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Hi William – We’re sorry to hear about having to have your extruder replaced on several occasions, but we encourage you to not give up! Smart Extruders work hard and sometimes wear out. We have tips to help reduce the natural wear and to ensure that they’re well taken care of prior to and post printing.

  • Bart
    November 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Oh brother, it just gets worse….see my comment above on 10/20. Our office purchased a Z18 that was delivered on 10/10. The Smart Extruder started clicking, and stopped feeding filament entirely after printing only two small test pieces. A replacement Smart Extruder was shipped, and arrived on 10/31. I installed it yesterday (11/3), being extremely careful to follow the directions. It won’t print more than a few seconds before it gives the filament jam warning. I unloaded, and loaded the filament at least a dozen times trying to get it to work….no luck. After a couple of hours, I gave up and went home…this is beyond frustrating. Case #00240877.

    • Jodie
      November 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Bart – I’ve notified our Support Team, and one of our team members will be reaching out to you shortly. We apologize for the negative experiences you’ve had with your replacement Smart Extruders.

  • Jhon Carrillo
    November 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    No se si el solo pedir disculpas y decir que el personal de soporte se comunicara con nosotros es la única solución que tiene makerbot para sus clientes. hace unos días comente mi problema por el Blog, donde Jodie me informo que me darían solución a mi caso. pero realmente creo que no hay solución por que nadie de soporte makerbot se ha comunicado con migo. instale la actualización V. 3.3 pero el problema continua, tengo dos extrusores y ninguno funciona con solo unas horas de uso. pienso que he invertido 3.000 dolares en un pisa papel. pienso que he perdido mi dinero y que nadie responderá por los problemas de mi Makerbot.

  • Joe
    November 4, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    We have 3x 5th gens
    I’m not sure about anyone else but I simply don’t have the time to read through hundreds of forum posts just to find someone with the same problem and then no resolve to that.
    We seem to have less extrusion problems but more temperature problems.
    We can’t adjust the temps and we very often get the Error 57.
    Still troubleshooting.

    • Jodie
      November 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Joe – Sorry to hear you’re receiving an error on your MakerBot Replicator. Receiving “Error 57” occurs when there is a drop in temperature in the Smart Extruder. This can be caused by a problem with the internal heating components of the extruder, or even due to a bad connection between the Smart Extruder and the extruder carriage. Please ensure that the castle nuts (the bolts that lock the Smart Extruder into place) are secure. Also make sure there’s nothing preventing the pins on the Smart Extruder from seating properly in the extruder carriage. If this problem persists, please be sure to let us know.

  • Ed
    November 7, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    My first post did not show up, so here goes:
    I have had my Makerbot Replicator Mini for about three weeks. 2 extruders have clogged on me in that time. The first time that it quit printing it was in the middle of a print job. The first part of the print did well. but the extruder clogged. I received the printer on the 16th, started using it on the 17th and it quit printing on the 23rd. I received a replacement extruder on the 30th. Since then I have printed a 2 inch tall penguin, a small duck, a slightly larger duck, a 1.5 inch cat, a rather flat 1.5 x 2 inch robin, 2 scale sized pencil cups and a 1 x 2 x 0.5 inch scale sized cell phone holder. I started to print another scale sized pencil cup this morning and the printer quit about 15 seconds into the job. I tried to clear the clog with instructions from tech support without any luck. They are in the process of sending me a new extruder. I am frustrated because this is supposed to be a showpiece for my program. The students are real interested in it and I would like to be able to print their designs.

    • Jodie
      November 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Hi Ed – We’re happy to hear you’ve gotten in touch with Support and they have your replacement extruder on the way! I’d be happy to look into the status of that shipment for you if you supply me with a case number. Also moving forward, we encourage you to follow some of our MakerBot Smart Extruder Quick Tips that can help prevent clogs and possibly increase the lifespan of your extruder.

  • Mitchell
    November 11, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I have been completely disappointed by the Z18 and even more so by the Makercare service. I’m on my second dead extrude (still waiting on support to reply to my case), I have wasted at least a two lb spool of filament on failed prints so far, every fan in the machine is making horrible noises and now something in the smart extruder area is starting to make a grinding noise. Even with the expensive Makercare extended warranty my support replies seem to be completely ignored until the 10 day limit and then they are just dropped. If I could still send this dud back I would.

    • Jodie
      November 11, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Hi Mitchell – It looks as if you’ve successfully gotten in contact with Win via live chat on the status of your case. If we can help you out with anything else, please feel free to let us know!

  • drew
    November 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I will not disclose where I work but I will say that we have four MakerBot machines two of which use smart extruders and from what I can tell you they turn in to $175 paperweights after a week or so. BUYER BEWARE

    • Jodie
      November 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Drew! – If your company is experiencing complications with their machines, our Support Team would be more than happy to help solve any issues. There’s no need to disclose where you work. They can easily open a support case and we’ll be in contact with them shortly.

  • Sal
    November 12, 2014 at 7:44 am

    So, an update on my situation.

    Since receiving my replacement extruder, I have been able to print several things successfully.

    However, I am having a new issue. During EVERY print I have attempted, I get a “Filament Jam” error. The extruder returns to home and pauses the print. Sometimes you can see on the print bed that the filament has stopped extruding shortly before the error occurs, but sometimes it has not.

    At first, I would load the filament again (Without unloading) until it started extruding (It would do it immediately) and the resume the print.

    However, most of the time, I can simply continue the print without even doing that.

    In short, the new extruder (And firmware update) seem hyper-sensitive to filament jams even when they are not occurring.

    So, if I start a print in the morning, I am around to simply resume the print process, but the problem is that many times I need to start a print at the end of the day (Or have some that take 9-10 hours) and am not here to closely monitor the situation.

    So, in all, I am still pretty frustrated with MakerBot at this point. The printer is not delivering the experience it advertised.

  • Parrish
    November 13, 2014 at 4:37 am

    After upgrading to 3.3 and 1.4. I have found some improvement to print quality. But it really is dependant on the resolution, levelling of the plate and the type of job you are printing.

    By printing at a high quality seem to reduces clogging. In Low or standard mode the extruder can over extrude. This over extruding causes bumps in the print so when the extruder tries to print over the same spot it stops the flow of the filament coming out creating the start of a clog. One of two thing general will happen either gap or wisp lines will be printed. I have yet to test, but this maybe resolved by increasing the filament size value in a custom file. The logic is that will reduce the flow of the filament therefore reducing the likely hood of a bump I the print.

    Filament jam error I have found were generally caused by the plate is not being level correctly. I have found the new levelling function is not prefect, you can tell if the levelling correct by the if the line the extruder first draw is even width and the same deep across the plate.

    Print job where the extruder does a lot of dotting are problematic and higher temp seem to be the only answer to this so far.

    To clean a clog I have found that you need to unload and load the filaments until it will load with out being forced.

    I hope thought and ideas help. Roll on version 3.4

  • Bart
    November 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    So, my saga continues…see my notes above on 10/20 and 11/4. I received a replacement Smart Extruder for our Z18, but it won’t print more than a few seconds before having a filiment jam. I have probably unloaded, and loaded the filament 20 times, being very careful each time, with no success. For those who know how long you have to wait for the prompts, you know how much time I’ve spent trying to get this issue resolved.

    After posting the note on 11/4, and received an e-mail from “Andy” asking if I had time to talk. I replied an hour later, saying I wasn’t in the office (where the machine is) but I would be free the next day to talk….no reply. I sent another note to Andy on 11/11, with no reply yet.

    On 11/8 I got an automated not from MakerBot saying they hadn’t heard from me in about 10 days, so I replied to that on 11/12 saying I hadn’t heard from anyone since the note from Andy on 11/4….haven’t heard back on that either.

    I finally sent a note to Daniel who sent me the e-mail with the tracking number for the replacement Smart Extruder, detailing all of the above.

    This is the worst customer service I have ever experienced. Sending e-mails that aren’t acted upon, not replying, and nobody gives a phone number. Case #00240877.

    • Jodie
      November 13, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      We’re extremely sorry for the delay in response Chris. I’ve notified our Support Team directly on this situation and they will be in contact with you shortly! Once again, my deepest apologies.

  • Joe
    November 14, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Just wanted to add this as I too have purchased a Z18 and have had issue after issue with the extruder, clicking, jamming, globing up, etc. This may help some but again it may not though I have gotten some mileage out of it on my side.

    First low and standard quality configs even with creating a custom config have a higher chance of problems through a print lasting more than 1 hour. High Res has given me the best, even though not what a call great quality and no where near the quality of parts they show on the website.

    Second, Filament thickness, using the default configs are most certainly causing issues with the extruders. I bought 16 rolls of Makerbot filament when I ordered the Z18. The filament thickness ranges from 1.62 mm to 1.91mm, this is a major difference in the default setting of 1.77 mm. I have measured the same roll and set the custom config to the size of the start and when I started noticing clicking or a jam measured the filament again and noticed that the filament diameter was larger than at the start. This has happened multiple times and from what I can deduce on my side a variation of .05-.09 mm will start a random clicking if the filament gets larger than the config setting. If the filament grows by more than .15 mm you are almost guaranteed a lot of clicking and possible jam. Since Makerbot PLA is the only thing allowed in these extruders it is hard to go to another source that may have better control on their filament tolerances.

    Third, if you have a Z18 and are using the bottom tray, there is an excessive drag to pull the filament to the top. locating the roll at the top of the unit an using a bearing carousel to feed the unit eliminates the drag click you may sometimes hear. Things get worse if your dragging and the filament thickens in regards to jamming.

    Fourth, also for the Z18, leaving the top on the bend in the tube on the top of the extruder causes a bind point and can push the extruder off its magnets for a second causing a break in connection.

    Fifth, use a custom config on everything you print, stay away from default. Some settings I use.

    FeedDiameter in the extruder profiles (measure your filament in several place, err on the mid range to minimize the starving or jamming.

    Feedrates in extrusion profiles, I have slowed all of these down, I get a better flow even if the extruder is dealing with varying filament thicknesses.

    Extruder temps, these can vary as well based on the filament but I have found 218-220 works better than the default 215.

    Z18 – set the build chamber temp to 35C, default configs do not even enable the build chamber heater. Even on small printer the heated chamber works better in my opinion.

  • Dan
    November 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Wish I had known all this before purchasing and getting kids excited to use this product. I have a new class coming in to use the product, and it has already failed before I even was comfortable teaching kids how to use it.

    What printer company is everyone moving to…?

    • Jodie
      November 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Dan – I’m really sorry to hear of your experience. I’m not sure if you already have everything back up and running, but if you don’t, we’d still love to work with you if you’re interested.

  • Curtis
    November 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I am having the same issues, clogging, clicking and errors in the middle of my prints..nothing but problems for the last 4 months owning the Z18… you would thing the “flagship” printer would work for mare than a couple hours at a time. I logged on 3000+ hours on my CubeX with no issues at all.. I imediatly regret moving to Makerbot..and no makercare in Canada I have to rely on the no existent support… Its a 149lb $7500 paperweight which I cant afford to have sitting here doing nothing..

    • Jodie
      November 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Curtis – I see that you currently have a case open with us on your Z18 and failing Smart Extruder. I’ll be sure to notify our Support Team so that one of our agents gets in contact with you with a response as soon as possible. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Dan
    November 17, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Not yet taken care of. I have opened a case #00252318, and been in touch with my reseller, but have not been contacted to replace the extruder.

    • Jodie
      November 17, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Hi Dan – I apologize for the wait. I’ve alerted our Support Team and a team member should be reaching out to you shortly. We ask you to have the invoice for your printer and for MakerCare ready when contacted. Thanks!

  • Cheryl
    November 17, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Right out of the box it failed. Z axis was jammed. I waited four days to have a tech person contact me but I finally called them. As a teacher, I don’t have the time to sit on hold which is why I send out an email.

    The website is HORRIBLE for support. The error codes do not come up when you search. After sending pictures and a video to support I finally got a response that says the Z axis is jammed and try to unjam it. Really?! and how do you do that when you’re a brand new user and have looked at all the documentation and searched the website only to find nothing that talks about the Z axis? I FINALLY found some information that helped me on the Troubleshooting manual for the older model. I was able to unjam it, print and got an error code of 1038 Could not send tool head command – when the print is completed. Again I search and find NOTHING for that error code. I can’t do anything with the machine so after 45 minutes I turned it off. Now, I get error code 5 heater short.

    Why have error codes if I can’t find anything out about them anywhere? I am very disappointed in my first experience. My family purchased stock in this company – I am seriously thinking about telling them to sell now while it is worth something.

    • Jodie
      November 18, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Cheryl – I’m so sorry to hear of the negative experiences you’ve had thus far. It seems as if our Support Team has diagnosed the problem as a malfunction in your Smart Extruder. Your replacement has been shipped out for a Wednesday delivery. I apologize once again for the inconvenience and encourage you to let us know if we can assist you with anything else.

  • Bart
    November 17, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    MakerBot drops the ball (again). I left the previous note on 11/13, and I got an e-mail from Andy Orr later that evening. Andy said he would be available the following day from 12-9pm. So, on 11/14, I sent him a note, around 11:45am so it would be near the top of his e-mail inbox, and left my phone number. Sure enough, no call, no e-mail….nothing. I sent him another note just a few minutes ago (11/17), but I’m not expecting much at this point.

    I’ve left my phone number multiple times, and asked that I be contacted directly, not e-mailed, but that never happens. I’d rather solve this problem directly, but if necessary, I can get our national headquarters involved.

    Case #00240877

    • Jodie
      November 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Chris – We want to apologize once again for the delay in response. We’ve escalated this issue with our Support Team and Andy Orr will be in contact with you today via case: 248167. We appreciate your patience.

  • Tech Teacher
    November 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I’m in the same boat with Dan, got my kids excited about the printer. I am learning the machine myself to be able to teach it to the kids had a few good prints then went to crap filament jam every 2 minutes. Well luckily we are within the 14 day return window, we will be returning 5 5th gens. We are willing to try 2 2x machines hopefully they are more tried and true. Sad that they had a good rep before the 5th gen…this will destroy their reputation.

    • Jodie
      November 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Tech Teacher – I’m sorry you’ve had negative experiences with your 5th generation MakerBot Printers thus far. There are a few things to keep in mind to help prevent clogs from occurring such as: allowing the Smart Extruder to push the filament out past the drive gear before gently pulling it free when unloading, allowing the extruder fan to cool down the Smart Extruder before powering off, and even printing in cool, dry environment environments.

      However, if you’re still interested in purchasing our Replicator 2x, you can call or email our Sales Department at sales(at)makerbot(dot)com. They’d be more than happy to assist you!

  • Patrick P
    November 23, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I bought my 5th gen printer on the 8th of October last. Over half of all prints have failed. I came on here to find answers and information to solve problems But have discovered that MakerBot which when started was a great company but has in the last year succumbed as most do to greed. They will gladly take your money but good luck if the product fails. I even tried to return my makerbot when I found out about all the problems and neither Makerbot nor the company i purchased it from will take it back. And the company i purchased it through was told by Makerbot not to accept returns. I tried some of the fixes on here they worked for a short time but the extruder is plagued by design flaws and should have been tested more extensively before release. I personally would like to know what Bre Pettis the founder of maker bot thinks about all this? Because after he stepped down as CEO the support and quality of Makerbot has been lost and replaced by shoddy design and horrible customer support.
    Now I received an email this past Monday saying my SUPPORT CASE WOULD BE DROPPED BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT HEARD FROM ME AND IT WOULD COST ME $100 DOLLARS PER/CASE. THE UNIT IS STILL UNDER WARRANTY I HAVE NOT EVEN HAD IT FOR 60 DAYS WTF!!! and this is a no reply email so you cannot reply back to answer it. When i created the case it states clearly that a support specialist would contact me. I did get an email asking for specific information from the unit which I sent. But after that no one replied.
    Before getting this I ORDERED 2 MORE EXTRUSION HEADS because in the process of waiting for support to reply my extruder failed clicking and screaming completely. You can actually see the worn out spots on the plastic roller that feeds the extruder. Why is this part a Plastic when on all previous extruders it is metal and on all your competitors printers they are metal. I can only surmise that this was intentional and as with a light bulb they are designed to fail. Why else would replacement heads be so readily available.
    When I ordered the 2 extrusion heads 2 weeks ago and they took my money right away but i still have no confirmation of the shipment or the purchase of the heads nor even an email to say they have been delayed in shipping. What i do have is a bank statement saying they took my money immediately when i ordered.
    I called makerbot to find out why they where about to cancel my support case and where are the other heads i ordered. After being told repeatedly in messages while on hold that it would be quicker to create a case and get support online. But the support site on MAKERBOT IS ALWAYS DOWN. And low and behold when I do finally get some on the phone they tell that the replacement head is shipping that day. Still not here yet. I did manage to get a partial answer as to where the 2 new extruder heads I purchased might be. I was told that they are on hold as they can only get out about 30 a day. Also I asked repeatedly to have an email to confirm any of this but I still have not received any emails or phone calls for the replacement extruder , the 2 new Extruders or even a shipping number except for the one i was given over the phone when i called to find out what was going on.
    So why as a customer after having payed my hard earned money do i have to contact your company repeatedly to get anything done even? At this point I am surprised that a class action lawsuit has not been filed against makerbot or at least a total recall of the extruder heads. Because as a consumer your company is not providing the services or support that you say you provide.
    CASE NUMBER: 00247286
    ORDER #: 200010771

    • Jodie
      November 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Patrick – Firstly, we’d like to apologize for the negative experiences you’ve had thus far. Our Support Team will be following up with you shortly.

  • Jose Valdes
    November 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I found something that worked for us. We too, have a MakertBot Replicator 5th ed, and the problems with the malfunctioning Extruder. I just want to share our success in hopes that someone who is having the same frustration can benefit form our discovery.

    1. We update our MakerBot operating software to the latest one.
    2. We removed the jam from the Extruder by open it very carefully.
    3. We recalibrated the building tablet.
    4. We oiled the screw like mechanisms that moves the building tablet.

    We believed that by recalibrating the “building tablet” after each job, and periodically lubricating the “screw like rod” that moves the “building tablet,” you should be able to resume some jobs.

    We noticed that our Extruder was pressing on the building table too hard, since it made a noticeable noise while continuing the job. We recalibrated the building plate, and resumed our job.

    NOTE, sometimes even after recalibrating the “building tablet,” it was necessary to turn the “Front Leveling Know” to prevent future “jams.” Again, the noise produced by the Extruder by pressing so hard in the “building tablet” was the indicator of a future jam. Therefore, we believe that the problem may be related with the ” Right or Left Leveling Knobs Sensors.”

    I hope this may help some of you who are having a similar problem.

  • yoon
    November 27, 2014 at 2:47 am

    shipped replicator 5 generation 10 days ago
    yesterday begin error 1038
    small size print is ok
    but when middle size print occur error 1038
    i checked error every single print

    so i swap extruder new thing
    now is no error

    how can i fix my 고장 failure extruder

    i waiting reply

    • Jodie
      November 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Hi Yoon – You may be experiencing a malfunction in your Smart Extruder. We ask you top open a Support Case with our team so we can further assist you.

  • Terry
    November 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    We purchased our Z18 in August 2014. As of November 28th 2014 we have a total of 268:28:23 lifetime build hours which amounts to a paltry total of 10 successful prints out of 56. The firmware is version

    After struggling forever to overcome the clogged extruder issues (we now have two on hand) we are now faced with a new totally frustrating problem:
    When we try to use the assisted leveling feature (which was working fine) the LED’s do not flash to tell us when to stop turning the adjustment screws. Also, sporadically, it will prompt us to turn an adjustment screw when the build plate is several inches below the extruder.

    To top this off the extruded melted a hole in the rear right corner of the build plate. Thinking that this was an anomaly we replaced the build plate ($90.00 plus shipping) only to have it do it again!

    Needless to say we are a bit frustrated and the initial excitement of our students had cooled considerably. We want so bad for this machine to function as it should.

    Our case number is 00255859

    • Jodie
      November 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      We hear your frustration Terry and we apologize for the negative experiences. I’ve alerted our Support Team and a team member will be reaching out to you as soon as possible.

  • jhon Carrillo
    November 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Buenos dias,

    Entiendo que están tratando de solucionar los problemas de la 5 Generación, pero también quiero que entiendan a las personas que hicieron una gran inversión comprando no solo una Impresora sino además de productos adicionales como PLA y Extrusores, solo con el fin de conformar una
    empresa de impresión 3D y que confió en Makerbot por pensar que sería una empresa confiable a la hora de una reclamación. He tenido serios problemas con la impresora desde el inicio y a la fecha no hay una solución pronta. Fui contactado hace dos semanas por una persona de Soporte que me dijo que me solucionaría todos mis problemas (Joel Trujillo) pero no responde mis correos y tan poco mis mensajes de voz que he dejado en su buzón luego de un sinfín de llamadas.
    La semana anterior comete el BLOG donde Joe se comprometió a que nuevamente me contactarían pero a la fecha nadie ha llamado o escrito.
    Sera que no les importa a estas alturas nada y que las personas que confiaron en ustedes, solamente pierdan toda su inversión?. Pues si es así solamente digan que no van a responder y no jueguen con sus clientes.

  • Tony Cova
    November 30, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Similar to other customers I’m the owner of several Makerbots that I use in my “Maker Pro” business. I’ve recommended many times that my customers (0-to-maker audience) go with Makerbot for their entry level 3D printers.

    Makerbot’s poor customer support along with viable alternatives from reputable companies (Dremel’s Idea Builder and Cubify’s Cube 3) made me jump the boat for my latest purchase and recommendations.

    I came across this post and saw how you were trying to change things around, blah, blah, blah… Then the support site shows a 500 Internal Server Error (screenshot: So nothing has changed it seems, and I still have a $1500 paperweight (1 month old, clogged, Makerbot Mini). For a small business like ours, this is quite a loss…… Oh well.

    • Jodie
      December 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Tony – I apologize for the experience you’ve had with us thus far. We currently have our Web Team looking into the Internal Server Error. In the meantime, you can give us a call at (347) 334-6800 and select option 3 between 9 AM and 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday to have one of our Customer Support Experts assist you.

  • Craig S
    December 2, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Last August, I purchased a Mini for personal use. I also recently received a grant from a local business alliance for a 5th Gen Replicator for my classroom. I purchased the Mini, as well as composed the grant, based on Makerbot’s reputation (at last what I thought up to that point.)
    After working well since last August, my Mini suddenly started underextruding about two weeks ago. I had changed no settings, etc. prior to this happening. I looked online for solutions and tried everything I could find, but the underextrusion continued. After experiencing trouble with your support ticket system, I finally was able to submit a support ticket early on Friday November 21 (_00D30W6XV._50013m0hNG).
    Since I had heard nothing by the following Monday afternoon, I chatted online with a gentleman (name withheld) from your support department. I explained that I was in the middle of a high profile academic project that required that both my printers be running over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and I needed a replacement in hand on Wednesday. I also made sure he understood I was a Maker Care customer. He stated he would request “expedited” shipping. He emailed a UPS label, and I sent my extruder on Tuesday.
    I have UPS Quantum View, and became concerned when nothing appeared from Makerbot. I contacted this person again on Tuesday via email and asked for tracking information. He replied “I put in a request for a tracking number to our shipping department. As soon as they send me the number, I will forward that to you. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.” To date, I have received no tracking information.
    At that point, several emails changed hands as my frustration increased. On Wednesday, I contacted a sales rep from whom I had been receiving emails and advised him of my situation. He connected me to another customer service representative, who promised the extruder would be sent overnight for Friday delivery. He stated that I shouldn’t have entered a support ticket, nor should I have gone through the sales rep, and should have called the support number. I stated the only reason I contacted the sales rep was that I couldn’t get the help I needed from his department. He also told me to continue to communicate with the customer service rep I had been dealing with.
    Within 15 minutes of our conversation, I received an email stating: “I’m sorry, there is a delay in shipping of Smart Extruders. It should ship this weekend.”
    I have sent three emails since that time and have heard nothing, either from Makerbot or UPS Quantum View. While all this was going on, I lost countless hours of print time on the mini and continue to scramble to get the project printed by the deadline. It is a high profile project involving students and parents.
    On Friday, I received the following message from UPS as they tried to deliver my extruder to your offices: “THE RECEIVING BUSINESS WAS CLOSED.” So, am I to believe your business was CLOSED on Friday, yet open on the weekend?
    This is the most pathetic customer service I have ever received… anytime, anywhere, particularly considering I paid for the opportunity to be treated this way.. Is this the way you treat Maker Care customers? Since I bought your lower end printer, does that push me to the back of the line? I should have spent the Maker Care fee on another smart extruder.

    Please advise on how I may return this machine, as I am done.

    • Jodie
      December 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Hi Craig – We hear your frustration and want to apologize for the experience you’ve had with us thus far. We’re currently looking into your case and will be reaching out to shortly with details on getting this resolved for you.

  • Christopher Power
    December 2, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I am a high school teacher at Francis Lewis HS in Queens, NY, we purchased a Z18 and it has worked with certain filament on certain prints. The White flexible filament and the yellow glow in the dark filament have created multiple mis-prints. The red filament seems to be the only filament that works in our printer currently.

    Is there an easy way to flush the extruder, perhaps it is a clog issue as many have stated?

    Have you had others experience this issues with certain filament not working at all?

    Please call or email – 914 450 8261 – [email protected]

    Mr. Christopher Power
    Virtual Enterprise Coordinator
    Francis Lewis High School

    • Jodie
      December 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Christopher – Running the Load Filament procedure and applying some extra downward force on the filament, trying to push it further into the nozzle, can help flush out your extruder. Make sure the extruder is firmly attached to the extruder carriage using the Attach Smart Extruder function under the Utilities. Would you also be able to measure the filament with a pair of precision calipers (at a few different points along its length) to see if it is within specifications?

  • Shanshan
    December 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm


    I purchased Replicator 5th Generation printer last week, but i received an error when I printed out the model.
    ” Filament Jam
    you filament seem to be jammed (Error 81). please unload your remaining filament, and then reload it to continue printing.”

    I tried many times, there is no filament jammed into the extruder. is there anyone has this problem, and how to resolve it ?

    Thank you very much.


    • Jodie
      December 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      Hi Shanshan – Sorry to hear you’re receiving this error message. You’ve taken the right steps by loading and unloading the filament a few times in attempt to help reset the sensor in the Smart Extruder. Please make sure your printer is running the latest version of firmware. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, we ask you to open a support case with us so we help troubleshoot this issue further.

  • Jeremy Littler
    December 3, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I can’t get support for one of my replicator 2’s. Trying to order a part and it is on permanent back order.

    The support form at Makerbot is painful (way too pissy about the serial number now. Which for some used to be ok but isn’t working for me any more.). Basically I would need support to figure out how to get to support. Brilliant! Tried emailing support directly and have had no response.

    Why would I be contacting support if I did not have a replicator? What’s with the over emphasis on serial numbers? Ok, I understand the warranty, but I just wanted to ask a question!

    The University is taking a close look at switching to Ultimaker/Makerbot. Active community and non of the issues we are currently experiencing with our MRep2’s

    • Jodie
      December 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Hi Jeremy – If you’re ever experiencing trouble opening a case via the Support form, you can give us a call at (347) 334-6800 and select option 3 between 9 AM and 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday to have one of our Customer Support Experts assist you.

  • John
    December 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    my machine is broken and makes weird noises and doesnt print anything

    • Jodie
      December 4, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Hi John – I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your printer. Which model of ours would you happen to be working with?

  • mark
    December 4, 2014 at 10:48 am


    We are a small community college in upstate NY and purchase a Z18 for the new media program. We have been experimenting with it all semester and out of 100+ prints we have maybe 10 useful ones. We have also experienced many time consuming problems (software and hardware).

    Makerbot finally released a software/firmware that we just installed and updated that we were hoping would fix many problems. And we thought it did!!! We got the first successful print of this simple cone shape we have been trying to print all semester!!

    Unfortunately, immediately after the successful print, the motor that attaches the extruder stopped moving and is now making an awful noise. We are all pretty upset and fed up with this printer. It has bee a terrible experience. Its is also very hard to get support. There is no, as far as we know, community forum support which is unfortunate. To get support for a ticket one needs to have the Z18 registered though an individual account. Since students, faculty and staff are using this it is next to impossible for them to get help.

    This is all very disappointing….


    • Jodie
      December 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Mark – I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing trouble with your school’s Z18. If you or a school admin can give us a call at (347) 334-6800 and select option 3 between 9 AM and 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, we can have one of our Customer Support Experts assist you. Just please be sure to have the Z18’s serial number ready.

      In addition, we provide free and easy access to in-depth online support pages filled with FAQs, tips, and videos covering a large number of issues and concerns. These support pages are available to everyone, updated on a weekly basis, and always online, 24/7. You can access it here.

  • John
    December 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    The machine i am using in the makerbot replicator 2

    • Jodie
      December 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Hi John – Your brother also made me aware that your Replicator 2 is making loud noises and you’re both worried about it. The noises could possibly be caused by a blocked nozzle. Are you hearing this sound when you first turn on your printer or is it occurring during a print job?

  • John
    December 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I am very unhappy with your products.

  • Tannernelson Johnson
    December 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    My thing that prints the stuff is seriosuly not working for real and i no have any idea why i dont it cant print. Plz healp? I need this for my working education?

    • Jodie
      December 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Hi Tanner – You may be experiencing issues with your printer’s extruder. We’d like to help get you up and running once again. Could you tell me which model machine you happen to be printing on?

  • JohnStaverstack'sbrother
    December 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    hello there i am John Staverstack’s brother and our machine is making loud noises and is starting to frighten us. pls help

  • Tannernelson Johnson
    December 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    MY FIRST OF NAME IS TANNERNELSON. Ok now we have of that finished, i is with the have replicator 2x and it why dont can print? it shake boom boom ewwwww. SHould i rubbing alcohol plz?

    • Jodie
      December 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      My apologies for the confusion Tannernelson – Your Replicator 2X will shake during printing if you print at high speeds with acceleration turned off. Attempting to print at high speeds with acceleration turned off can harm your MakerBot Replicator 2X. We’d like to help you with your printing issues you’re experiencing. Can you open a support case with our Support Team so we can further assist you?

  • sirmakesalot
    December 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Please bring back the Replicator 1. It seems to be the most reliable of them all as the open source door allowed for better tuning.

  • Nathan
    December 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    We recently sent our machine off to be “fixed” because we leveled it several times and was still getting “air prints” and the quality of prints, using models from thingiverse and example prints, were absolutely terrible. Last week they sent our machine back to us and I tried to print a small job of about 15 hours using a model from thingiverse and the job stopped three times after it was half way through. When I tried to resume, there was no filament coming out. So I unloaded and tried to reload the filament only it wouldn’t go in…. great, a clog. Then i put on a new smart extruder and tried to load the fillament and it was like there was a clog IN THE NEW EXTRUDER head. Now, either makerbot sent me a used, faulty extruder or they didn’t fix the machine.

    In six months, I have been able to print one architectural model for our client. I understand machines will break down but I don’t understand why a company cannot offer decent customer support for a product that cost $8000. That’s like stealing someone’s money and running away.

    • Jodie
      December 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Hi Nathan – I’m extremely sorry to hear about this negative experience you had. If you have a case number, I’d like to alert our Support Managers so we can work on rectifying this situation for you.

  • Jonghwa Park
    December 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    When I attempt to print always the error message is same ” Filament Jam
    you filament seem to be jammed (Error 81). please unload your remaining filament, and then reload it to continue printing.”
    I tried so many times, filament loading and unloading. How can I resolve this problem?
    Firmware and Desktop version is newest.

    • Jodie
      December 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

      Hi Jonghwa – We’d like our Support Experts to further look into this for you. Can you open a support case with them here?: From there we can troubleshoot these jam errors you’re receiving a little closer.

  • Joe
    December 17, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    So, makerbot what are you going to do for those of us that have forked out nearly three grand for this 5th Gen piece of rubbish?


    If this Smart extruder is supposed to eliminate down time why does it do nothing but cause downtime?

    If you have improved on the design, please send menew one, my 5th gen is only 90days old!

    • Jodie
      December 19, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Hi Joe – We hear your frustration and we apologize for the experience you’ve had with your 5th Generation MakerBot thus far. Do you currently have any cases open with our Support Team? We’d like to assist in getting you up and running efficiently once again.

  • Mark
    December 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    My Rep 2 (serial number 00000337) works great now. The first year was a nightmare. But now 100% using ABS, Kapton tape, ABS juice and a heated build plate from BC TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS LLC. This is the best advice I can give any MB user. Do not buy a 5th gen. It only prints PLA and PLA gets soft if you leave it in the sun on a hot day. That’s what made us change to ABS.
    And last but not least my “Dumb Extruder” has been working 4000 hrs. Extruders don’t wear out no matter what the Gen 5 says.

  • Sal
    December 19, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I have a couple updates and a weird issue.

    First, since getting my smart extruder replaced and updating all firmware and desktop software, my printer is back to working like I hoped. I just hope it lasts.

    My students are having a blast.

    But, here is the weird and frustrating issue I am now having…

    I cannot print anything on the back half of my print bed. If I do, I get a filament jam 100% of the time. The extruder starts laying down the raft, but will end up underextruding until it gives me the filament jam notice. If I move the object to the front half of the print bed, it prints no problem.

    And, yes, I have leveled the build plate several times.

    Any ideas?

    • Jodie
      December 19, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Sal – So glad your students are excited that your printer is up and running but saddened to hear about the under-extrusion you’re dealing with on the back-half of your print bed. Thanks for taking the first steps by ensuring that your build-plate is properly leveled. Would your filament happen to be extruding on an angle or even sideways? I’d like to make sure you’re not experiencing a partial obstruction.

  • Parrish
    December 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Sal, I think I had the same problem as you have encountered. The nature wear of the extruder reduces the gap between the extruder and build plate. I think that because the build plate is counter levered from the back. This allows a little more give in the front half the build plate (Less pressure required to push it down).

    To solve this, try this.

    1. Make sure you are using Firmware 1.5 and Desktop 3.4 software.

    2. Ensure that the build plate is clip in flat and correctly.

    2. Unload the filament and WAIT under the extruder is below 180c before running the leveling process.

    3. Increase the gap between the extruder and build plate with the new Z-adjustment.

    Test, it happen again increase the gap more. If the gap is to big the filament will not stick to the build paper or you will get wavee lines.

    Hope this work for you!!!

  • paul
    December 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    My company was about to buy a MKBT 5th. Glad we read this blog. Thanks.
    Now we will be full steam ahead on a Zortrax. We will be doing 3d printing training in the Netherlands on K8200, K8200 mk2, ultimaker, ultimaker 2 and from next week most likely a Zortrax M200.

    • Jodie
      December 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      I’m sorry you feel this way, Paul. We constantly iterate on our products and are always working to improve them. Enhancements are continually being made and we do hope you stay tuned to our upcoming blogs and announcements for changes you can expect.

  • Dave Topper
    December 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Just got a brand new Makerbot Mini. Trying to print my first model. All I get is a “filament jammed” message no matter how many times I try to remove / replace the filament.

    Not very happy at the moment.

    I’ve updated the firmware and everything is set up correctly. Not sure what to do but return the device. Bummer.

    • Jodie
      January 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Dave – If the filament jam is happening when you’re starting a print, you can use the z-offset in the latest desktop/firmware to adjust the gap and stop jams.

  • Mr.Hair
    December 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I have had my Replicator Mini for 4 months and its been working great. The few issues I have had were related to the extruder but it just needed to be seated better and it was fine. Basically user error. ;p

    Some advice to some of you that are having difficulties, the difference between success and failure with any device is in understanding how it works. And not over reacting when it doesn’t work the way you think it should.

    Thanks Its a great product!

    • Jodie
      January 2, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Hi Mr. Hair – Great advice! We appreciate your encouragement.

  • Ben
    December 29, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I have never read this blog before but I am amazed at the consistent negative experience with the gen 5 printer. I do not own a gen 5 but do use one at work. I have not had the same bad experience so far, other than it seems to under extrude leaving only fair quality parts. I typically build at 0.2mm layer height. I just slowed print speed down to 60 from 80 so we’ll see if that has any effect.

    As an observation, I see plenty of ‘I’m sorry’ statements from Makerbot, but I do not see SPECIFIC solutions being disclosed, only promises of ‘enhancements’ being made. At this point, if I were Makerbot, I would start spilling the beans about the improvements in the pipeline. Most importantly, I would some up with some sort of substantial incentive for your existing customers to stick with you. The market for 3d printers is large and growing and you guys seem to be losing (maybe already have lost) your place at the front. Very sad but still fixable if you act quickly and decisively.


  • Stephen
    December 29, 2014 at 9:13 am

    The best support Makerbot had was the Google group which you shut down this summer. Even though I could never get anyone from Makerbot to answer the phone or process a filament order, it was okay because the Google group was super active and helped me solve my problems about failed prints, broken parts, and a better place to buy filament.

    • Jodie
      January 2, 2015 at 11:50 am

      Hi Stephen – Although the Google Group is no longer active, we’ve included some of the most helpful threads at the bottom of the “The Future of the MakerBot Operators Google Group” post for everyone to refer to as needed. Also, please know that we are dedicated to supporting our products and customers and are working diligently to provide additional support and improvements.

  • Dave
    December 30, 2014 at 12:30 am

    I purchased my 5th generation Makerbot in November after press releases Home Depot was going to carry the line. My mistake was not reading the blogs and other posts out there. Yes, I am having the jamming issue as well. First replacement extruder also delivers error 81 (extruder jam) after thin or no filament layer. Running multiple filament loads always delivers good stream. However as soon as printing starts the job fails part way through the job. It is almost as if the unit reduces in temperature and permits partial hardening of the filament.

    My third extruder is to ship but based on most posts and the tech telling me they have a 50% extruder failure rate, I’m not confident this is going to do much better.

    Are you able/permitted to share with us when the re-engineered smart extruder will be available and if they will be provided without cost?

    I bought this unit instead of a CNC machine to do prototyping of an invention I have and unable to move forward with critical needs……..

    • Jodie
      January 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Dave – If you like, I can get you an update on the status of your shipment if you supply me with your case number. Also, we ask you to stay tuned to our blog and social channels for all upcoming announcements and what changes you can expect. =)

  • Ken
    December 31, 2014 at 12:06 am

    OMG!!!! Does anyone here see the pattern. I was one of the first to buy the 5th Gen and waited past the date it was suppose to be released…but patiently waited and waited until it finally arrived. I was like a child at Christmas to get my new shine toy. Well to keep things short I will tell you I replaced the extruder several times for clicking and clogging and failed prints. Now the reason I’m writing this right now is because today (after over 6 months of forgetting 3D printing)I wanted to see if there was any changes in this so called smart extruder. You see I did like the ease of use and how it looked and the hype of what it was suppose to do…let alone the new monster Z18…OMG what an awesome unit…Not! See I think everyone is forgetting what made Makerbot is the open source family atmosphere and everyone working towards a common goal. Oh it’s nice when we all have input and can give design input on how to make a 3D printer work better….and that’s how it was with their first printers. Now today I was hoping to see this extruder issue had been put to rest and I was about to purchase a Z18 today for myself and my Dad; however I think you all know what my decision is after reading all of your comments. Listen, forget the temperature increases or the olive oil on the filament gimmick…this so called smart extruder needs to be completely fixed… PERIOD!!!! All I see written is..”Sorry…call us… we will call you…give us your ticket number” OMG all this a stall tactic, because since day one the issues are still the same. I’m so disappointed because I really really hoped this was fixed because as I’ve said it’s a beautiful looking unit and when it did print I was pleased and that’s why I looked today to see if hopefully things had been resolved. Listen Makerbot, you had Brea as your spokes person and lots of units were sold because we all believed in you…Now it’s time to say that you made a mistake and make things right….open things back up and have the help of the public again and stop thinking all about the money. Makerbot was built on a philosophy and the reason it had a good name is because of how things “Were Done” …get back to the basics and we all would respect you for it. Just my opinion. I can’t tell if anything is misspelled because I’m doing this on my phone and can’t see it all….Ok thanks!

    • Jodie
      January 2, 2015 at 11:39 am

      Hi Ken – We have different departments working on these different projects, but you’re right – our priority should be and is our product. We are continually learning about them and are constantly iterating. All in all, we do hope that you stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect and what to look forward to this year. Please know, that we here at MakerBot are definitely listening and we’re determined to improve your MakerBot experience.

  • Wes
    January 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    As a hardcore MakerBot user who has a Rep2, Rep2X, and Z18, I’m ready to ditch the lot of them. I am spending more time fixing them than I am doing business with them. After 100 to 150 hours of use, troubles start. Clogged extruders, warped build plates, bad attitudes from 20-something techs. My Rep 2 workhorse just clogged its extruder after making a brilliant print with new, fresh filament because the ridculously cheap design of the filament guide tube, which relies on two METAL clips holding a PLASTIC guide tube that goes thru extreme ranges of motion broke free from the clips because of wear on the tube. Even though I run the filament thru a sponge segment, something still got thre and now I have the “clickclickclick” of a clog when trying to reinsert the fiber – and yes, I always use the menu. Time to move on. I have lost faith in MakerBot’s committment to quality, and more importantly, to their customers.

    • Jodie
      January 2, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Wesley – We hear your frustration and are extremely apologetic for the negative experiences you have had with us thus far. We’d like to renew your faith by giving you the support you need and deserve. Would happen to have any cases open with us? I’d like to take a look into your experience and alert our Support Managers so we can get this problem resolved for you.

  • BartonC
    January 5, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I have the 5th generation replicator since mid 2014 and have only been able to print a few things with out issue. It’s been one thing after another with this machine. I was referred to makerbot as being the place to go when starting out in 3d printing, it seems I was a little too late and those days are over. Very disheartening to newer 3d printing enthusiasts.

    • Jodie
      January 8, 2015 at 11:45 am

      Hi Barton – We’re really sorry to hear of your experience. We have a dedicated support team here and we would like to see what’s going on to help get your 5th Gen Rep up and running consistently for you. If you haven’t already, could you open a support case with our Customer Support Staff here: From there they’ll be able to see what could be going wrong and assist accordingly.

  • Denise
    January 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    All day long: Filament jams, Homing errors, smart extruder communication errors. I don’t even know where to begin with opening a case! (FYI – my AFINIA printer has been printing all day long. Not ONE successful print from my Makerbot today)

    • Jodie
      January 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Denise – You can give us a call at (347) 334-6800 and select option 3 between 9 AM and 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday to have one of our Customer Support Experts assist you. We apologize for your negative experiences thus far.

  • Kevin Withers
    January 7, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I share his frustration. I have been with my company for 6 months. It is a small company. I convinced them after 3 months how much a 3d printer would help us (we over utilize our machine shop for prototypes). After doing some research and going off past great experience with Makerbot I convinced them to buy a new Z18. We are now waiting on our 3rd unit. The first one showed up with a bent bed all thread. That was sent back and we were told it would take to long to fix.So I was then sent another unit. Thinking that is was going to be a new checked out unit. It was very used and showed up damaged as well. 12 screws were not even hand tight. There was obvious metal on metal wear.

    I really have the heat on me here for recommending this printer and the ownership is not happy with me because of it. I really put my neck on the line for my recommending Makerbot Z18. I am still waiting on another replacement unit (for 2 weeks now) My extra smart extruder I bought is damaged as well. Teally hoping Gen 6 is on its way, from all I read no one is having good luck with Gen 5 any of the printers. I waste so much productive time working on the printer trying to get a subpar part out it is really taking away from my design time. My ongoing/never closing case # is: 00D30W6XV._50013m16BR

    • Jodie
      January 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Hi Kevin – According to your reference number, it seems as if Josh has responded to your case. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to let us know. Thanks for getting in contact with us.

  • Brian Wetzel
    January 7, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Recently, I have had troubles with prints with the 5th gen Replicator that is in my classroom. At first (May 2014 when we purchased), we were amazed at how well it worked. Many ideas for classroom use came to mind and the school was excited. We have had several students designing models for class projects with enthusiasm of begin able to put their thoughts in physical form.

    However, several prints have failed miserably dashing these students aspirations of design. I am not sure of the reason of these failure (my guess is an extruder clog), but if this continues, the excitement that was brought in with the 3D printer, will quickly be lost.

    I haven’t went to my administration yet about opening a support case, as I might just try to request a new extruder, but I am wondering on the life expectancy of extruders. I have never seen any information on how long we should expect them to last; just that they wear out over time. Also, is there a warranty on the extruders themselves? These are questions that my administrators will want to know before ordering.

    • Jodie
      January 13, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Hi Brian – MakerBot’s Limited Warranty applies to the Smart Extruder as well as MakerBot hardware devices. You can read more on it here:! We’re also constantly working on and steadily improving the life span of these extruders but yes, they do wear over time. The amount of time between changes depends on the driving conditions of your particular 3D printing project and upkeep of your Smart Extruder.

    January 10, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    The Gen 5 IT IS A SCAM.

    We import the printer from Colombia
    With few hours of use, we had to buy 5 smart extruder.
    just put the latest new and neither works.

    we lost all our money

    We are warning their new distributors in Colombia to cut business with makerbot


    January 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    you make me lose four thousand dollars and asked me moderation?

    You tricked thousands of customers and unresponsive, urge restraint?

    in your country or mine what they do has only one name … Scam

    • Jodie
      January 14, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Hi Conrado – We’d like to apologize for the negative experiences you’ve had. Can you send an email to Thoughts(at)makerbot(dot)com? We’d like to speak with and further discuss how we may be able to further assist you. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • Robert W,
    January 14, 2015 at 1:55 am

    well i have had 2 of these in the last 2 days only to have both with different extruder issues. i would not even load the filament the other made one print and would the extruder got clogged. not the tip the actual extruder.

    A friend bought one yesterday as well and it went back today for a blocked extruder.

    We tried to call tech support and was told they went home at 5 eastern time. That is 3 pm here and 2 on the west coast. Really. Even better when we mentioned the inconvenience of this we were hung up on. Well not about to try a third time with this sort of support.

    • Jodie
      January 15, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      I apologize for that negative experience, Robert. If you have a case number, I’d like to look into it for you and have this issue escalated with our Support Team ASAP.

  • Todd
    January 14, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Just wanted to note that we bought a gen 5 for Xmas after watching the units crank out good prints at the Microcenter and Microsoft store near us. Ours is working great and over 100+ hours of excellent quality prints — all, but one, have turned out great. At least for us, the 3.4 and 1.5 soft/firmware seem to be working. We experienced “clicking” once and no extrusion but it solved itself after a few nervous seconds. Lots of prior problems, looks like, but would be interested if others are now having better experiences. I bought a makercare package and it took a few days and a support request submission to get activated — customer service seemed stressed and not all that friendly. Keep improving — look forward to future upgrades. Overall, positive experience so far (knocking on wood).

    • Jodie
      January 15, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      It’s absolutely refreshing to hear of your positive experiences with your Fifth Generation MakerBot, Todd! If there’s anything you need, always feel free to let us know. We’d also love to hear about what projects you’ve made with your printer so far.

  • Drew York
    January 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm


    I recently purchased a Replicator Mini Gen 5 from your UK distributor to realise work for an exhibition on the 22nd of January. Straight out of the box, the filament that came with the printer would only bunch around the nozzle, preventing any printing. Because the printer was purchased on my behalf by a local government worker, and the fact that you don’t have a direct UK presence, I wonder whether it’s too short notice for a time-appropriate solution. I hope that you can help.


  • Drew
    January 17, 2015 at 9:47 am


    I’m using a 5th gen Makerbot Mini for a sound sculpture project, but the filament is bunching up around the nozzle and not printing at all. The exhibition opens on thursday and I’m at a loss as to what I can do short of opening the extruder, voiding the warranty, and sorting it out myself.

    I’d really appreciate some advice.

    • Jodie
      January 20, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Drew – You may be experiencing a clog! You can follow this step-by-step video demonstrating how you can clear your Smart Extruder’s clog: If this problem continues to happen, I recommend you reaching out to our Support Team where they can assist you further.

  • Colby
    January 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Todd seems to be in the minority, at least among those motivated enough to leave a comment. And some of us who are leaving negative comments are excited enough about 3D printing that we would be the ones leaving glowing praise if we felt it were warranted.

    I teach at a school with an enrollment of 15,000, and am in one the first departments to have a 3D printer on our campus. As one of the first to take the time to learn to use our 5th gen Replicator, I am now being asked to advise other areas about whether to purchase. I just got an email from someone who has now gotten the go-ahead to buy, and wanted to check to see if this unit is still what I would suggest. Having spent hours fixing our current machine, having had mixed customer support, having waited in vain for the company to acknowledge that there is a problem and to offer any kind of reassurance that they will come up with a permanent and reliable fix, I cannot currently recommend to any other department that they should buy any kind of Makerbot product. I have diligently followed all recommendations about how to avoid clogs, and yet they continue to happen, mostly at seemingly random times. And Makerbot employees seem to imply that those of us having issues are simply impatient, trying to pull filament out before being told to by the machine, or ill-informed (having not read instructions), or not up to date on firmware and software upgrades. Surely those things are sometimes the cause of problems for people, but I assure you, there are those of use who do all of those things and still have problems. It feels like the default presumption is that all problems are operator error, and support’s job is simply to figure out which error we made. Yes, that approach can solve some problems, but it would repair some of the lost confidence if the the company were willing to concede to their own (major) errors with more than just “sorry”.

    Even if Makerbot has given up on the maker community that initially supported it, I just don’t understand how you can ignore the bad word-of-mouth that is developing about your products. I never took any business courses, but it seems like it would be a fundamental premise of effective modern management practices that you cannot keep hyping the reliability and quality of something when a significant part of your customer base experiences it as unreliable and flawed. Well, you can keep hyping it, obviously, but it makes you appear to be tone-deaf and greedy.

    I will keep checking every month or two to see if something changes, because we cannot afford to give up on the Replicator we already have, but I just can’t in good conscience put someone else in harm’s way by recommending your company’s products and services.

    • Jodie
      January 28, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Hi Colby – We are extremely sorry you had negative experiences with us. We here at MakerBot have a dedicated support team who are always happy to help solve any issues you’re having with your machine. If you have a case number, I can get in touch with Support today to see if they have any updates for you. We do hope you’ll stay tuned to our upcoming blog posts to see how we’re trying to improve.

  • Doyle
    January 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Installed firmware update now any raft I try to print stops the filament from extruding as it builds the first layer. Tried reloading the firmware but no change. I bought the Gen5 in July and foolishly didn’t buy the service package. I have received 4 smart extruders no charge so far for various issues. They are clogged, thermal errors, leveling errors, and now this. Before throwing away $100 dollars on this 6 month old printer that I have $3000.00 into, just thought if you had any ideas why a 2 month old extruder would fail.

    I re-leveled the platform just to make sure with the update nothing had changed. Reloaded the filament, feeds very well with a good amount of PLA coming through the head. Seems to be no trouble with the extruder until I start a print job. This as you can imagine is very frustrating. It is never the same issue with these extruders. I half expect it to explode and take out my eye, ha-ha. Anyway if you could give me something to try please do…d

    • Jodie
      January 22, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Hi Doyle – if the filament jam is happening when they are starting a print, you can use the Z-Offset in the latest desktop/firmware update to adjust the gap and stop jams. Please try this out and let me know if you notice any changes.

  • Doyle
    January 25, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Hi Jodie, I will try that out as soon as I get back from vacation in a couple of days. Thanks for the tip and I will let you know how it works out.

  • sal..passafiume
    January 26, 2015 at 8:02 am

    I have tried to submit comments for the last week, and they either do not show up or have the “This comment is awaiting moderation” notice. What gives?

    The following are the two posts I made recently, I hope my voice is heard:

    Well, I am back to where I was at the beginning of this conversation…completely frustrated and disappointed that I have wasted my money on this project.

    After my first extruder went bad at less than 100 hours of print time. The replacement arrived and I got a number of successful prints, just like I did the first time.

    Now, my replacement extruder is exhibiting the same issues under 100 hours as well. I have not had a successful print in my last 10 tries and have done all the troubleshooting I have been advised to do. I was vigilant in my care of this extruder. I never left filament in it if I knew it was going to be idle for more than a few hours. I updated all software and firmware. I followed all instructions to the T for leveling, loading, and unloading filament. I assumed that since I was a novice at this, that I probably caused some of the problems that occurred in my first extruder.

    Apparently not.

    Not only do my prints fail, but now my machine randomly unloads the filament during a print along with the red ring of death flashing around the large button on the machine.

    I am disappointed and embarrassed that I convinced my principal to spend $3000 on what will now become the world’s most expensive paperweight.

    Fortunately, my students and I are in the process of assembling two new 3D printers (Mini-Kossel and a Prusa). I am hopeful that they will be more reliable than this piece of junk. I will definitely be advising all of my colleagues in education to avoid Makerbot.

    Against my better judgment, I purchased a 3-pack of replacement extruders when I returned my first defective extruder several months ago. Basically, I had no choice because the entire class I created over the summer for my students was based around using a 3D printer.

    I have replaced my 1st replacement extruder (2nd overall) with a new one and the print that failed 3 times yesterday appears to be working fine with the new extruder.

    Good News?


    This simply confirms that my 2nd extruder was clearly defective after less than 100 hours of print time. It was so defective that it was actually causing problems with the physical machine: The print bed would not return to bottom position after a failed print, the filament would unload in the middle of a print, the light ring around the button flashed red and would not stop unless I physically turned off the machine…the list goes on.

    So, I have 3 extruders to get me through the 2nd half of the school year. Since I can only count on about 100 hours from each, it’s not even likely that they will make it that long.

    Thank goodness I have the other 2 printers that will be up and running shortly.

    What a joke.

    • Jodie
      January 28, 2015 at 10:33 am

      I’d really like to apologize for these mishaps and all of the back and forth communication in relation to the issues you’ve been experiencing with your Smart Extruder, Sal. We hear and completely understand your frustration. To ensure the quality of your prints, we ask to follow our tips for better printing may help you see an improvement and a reduction in problematic issues. I’ve also alerted our Support Managers and they’ll be reaching out to you shortly. I apologize for the wait.

  • Toregeldy
    January 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I am shocked by how badly this thing works (5th gen). I am from Kazakhstan and probably the only one for hundreds of miles to use a 3D printer on a daily basis. I am an engineer, I have my own construction company and bought it for fun, hoping to bring 21st century to my company and make rapid modeling and prototyping effective, but instead it is jamming, all the time. Either makerbot responds to the problem and fixes jamming issue (even if it will cost me) or I next printers I will buy (maybe even distribute in Central Asia) will be from your competitors.

    • Jodie
      January 28, 2015 at 10:55 am

      Sorry to hear you’re experiencing jams, Toregeldy. We want to make sure you’ve taken a couple steps to ensure your MakerBot is up to date and working optimally. If you’re not using the current firmware version, we advise you to download the latest here: Following some of our tips for better printing alongside staying up-to-date with the latest software and firmware should help improve the quality of your prints. If you haven’t already been in contact with your reseller on this issue or don’t currently have a case open, we advise you to do so if this problem persists.

  • JoeTech
    January 28, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I think it’s hilarious that Makerbot’s response to everyone’s problems if “Sorry to hear” instead of actually doing something about all of us out here with a $2500 doorstop. I ordered a x2 but the Makerbot sales rep sold the ‘NEW” better version to our poor naive purchasing agent, now I I’m on my 2nd smart extruder, have wasted $100s in material, have a 3d Printer in my class room that students cant use and All I get is “Sorry to hear” I wonder if their tips for better printing they point everyone too says to buy a decent 3D Printer other than Makerbot!

    One of my students just bought a got it for $400 on Amazon, and it produces prints that blow makerbot out of the water! Great quality and they actually complete first run!

    Buy one of these instead of extra smart extruders!

    • Jodie
      February 6, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Hi JoeTech – Would you happen to have a case number? I’d love to look into your experience and help find a way to assist you!

  • Susan Schell
    January 28, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I have a new Makerbot Mini and it won’t extrude. I was able to make just two things before it quit working. I have unloaded and loaded the filament properly many times and nothing unclogs the extruder.

    I can’t afford to throw this much money out the window. And I need this for some of my work at Colorado State University.

    Please help!

    • Jodie
      January 29, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Hi Susan – The MakerBot Mini associated with this email seems to still be covered under MakerCare. If you open a support case with our Support Team, a customer representative will reach out to you to further assist.

  • sal
    January 28, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Jodie-that link goes to nowhere. “Page not Found”

    • Jodie
      January 29, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Sorry about that Sal! Here’s the updated link:

  • Tony Chou
    February 1, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    I bought a brand new Makerbot 2X on 12/31/2014 – after going to a Techshop class. I drove 3.5 hours for that class one way and decided to buy a R2X – what journey after that class! The teacher said – you can decide what you want – whether assemble itself or buy it so you can use it directly – he added that MakerBot is a great product due to the genius brains behind it.

    So far, 2/1/2015, I have not completed a very successful 3D print and still struggling with a sudden stop from the 3d printer. When I went into the log messages as it suggested, a few things popped up like “prototype.cpp” and “async” calls failed. Nothing meaningful so that a layman to MakerBot code but a 20-year software engineer in C/C++ like myself can easily decrypt. You need a lot of digging to glance and guess what errors it is having.

    So sorry to see so many “so sorry” responses from MakerBot. I was told by TechShop it has MIT genius working on these fancy machines – confidence boost to a point!

    I ended up spent many hours browsing and researching. And most of what I found and learned were not from MakerBot site directly. I found a post in Google MakerBot Operator teaching me how NOT to warp the HBP. Also found a post saying I can use glue stick to prevent corner tilting – and not using the MakerBot “Help Disk” since I was never able to find it in my MakerBot Desktop software menus. Alas, I am thinking I should really sink in the thoughts went to these posts before I purchased it.

    Now that I will still read through these comments on this page. I did my custom profile – granted and knew it is an experiment and will take many trial and errors. Just waited last night after I put glue stick on blue painter’s tape and one and half hour later, the extruder stopped to work again. Based on my very limited understanding, there may be a problem with printing in a very small section with high speed moving – some remote suggestion says the extruder is not able to keep up with the speed of printing. Thing is – there is only one setting opportunity. I plan to slow down the speed but doesn’t that mean it is slow from the get-go? All other parts of the print will go with that slow speed? Dunno.

    I am working with my case support, slowly. But I like to share that MakerBot product is not magic and it won’t just work right off the bat. Oh by the way, not sure where to categorize myself, I have a PhD in Engineering but this machine is demanding more than a degree. Feel free to laugh at me but I am frustrated and eager to move my prototype work forward. Case # ref:_00D30W6XV._50013mxJk4:ref

    • Jodie
      February 3, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Tony – I see in our system that you’ve been in direct contact with Support Agent Rick on this. Thank you very being understanding and patient. I’ll be sure to alert him on your case ASAP.

  • Bob Lowrance
    February 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Is any work being done on redesigning the smart extruder to make it smarter? If so, when can I get my hands on something that works? I don’t mind spending money of you have something that works. It’s better than a machine sitting doing nothing.


    • Jodie
      February 3, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Bob – We’re always working on ways to improve our Smart Extruder. We appreciate your enthusiasm and do hope you stay tuned for upcoming announcements for what you can expect! Thanks for reaching out.

  • Howard
    February 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I’m pretty much at the end of my rope with this Makerbot Z18. My reference number is [ ref:_00D30W6XV._50013mw5sm:ref ]
    The filament either jams, or the extruder is starved of filament. I’ve tried all of the suggestions above, including the “tips for better printing” (the web link for manually adjusting the Z18 axis offset is broken by the way).
    It’s clear that these machines have major design flaws. Is it too late for me to return this Makerbot? Where I work, we are experts in additive manufacturing, and it’s obvious that this machine has significant problems.

    • Jodie
      February 3, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Howard – I’ve been alerted that Danny will be reaching out shortly to assist you. We apologize for the downtime!

  • Gabriel
    February 3, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    The Smart extruder is a nightmare. You need to change so often that seems to be an inkjet cartrige…The Maker care plan is a scam, but you have to do it: it is the only way to replace all the expired extruders without a big waste of maney.
    We always do feedback conversations with Makerbot guys and they are great, that is the only good thing.
    MB customer service sucks. I always say bad things about MB.
    It is always off, I cannot schedule any print job because 1/2 of times stops mid print. Tons of wasted filament.
    I contacted MB support and they said my stl is corrupted, guys, that stl always worked! It is your printer that is not reliable.
    Now I updated the firmware and the filament jams every half an hour.
    It is impossible to work seriously with a printer like this.

    I can’t wait to get a new one, not Makerbot for sure!

    • Jodie
      February 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Gabriel – Do you have a case number? I’d like to forward it over so we can see what happened.

  • Gabriel
    February 4, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Hi Jodie, thank you for getting back to me. The case number for that was:
    RE: Stopped Mid-print [ ref:_00D30W6XV._50013mUv36:ref ]

    Now I wrote the customer service again because of the error81, filament jam.
    Is keeping saying me error81 since yesterday, with every extruder I have.
    I didn’t get yet a case number for this.

    • Jodie
      February 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Gabriel – Thanks for supplying us with your reference number. We’d just like to confirm that the email address associated with your previous case is the same. Can you send us an email to Thoughts(at)makerbot(dot)com with your name and case number if it does become available. If not, your name and email will just be fine. From there, I’ll be able to bring this matter to the attention of our Support Managers.

  • David Brightbill
    February 5, 2015 at 11:06 am

    We went through 5 extruders during our warranty period. Lately, we purchased a new one. While it is printing without the extruder becoming jammed, it now stops printing several times during a print with the message: “Filament Jam – Error 81” When we click OK, the extruder heats back up and the print continues without needing to unload/load the filament. Our firmware appears to be up-to-date. Is this a bug or a feature?

    • Jodie
      February 12, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Hi David – This may be a bug you’re experiencing. Have you already updated to the lastest version of Firmware for your printer?

    • Jodie
      February 12, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Hi David – This may be a bug you’re experiencing. Have you already updated to the latest version of Firmware for your printer?

  • David Bolner
    February 7, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve had my makerbot mini for over 5 months now and after updating to the new firmware on my mini and desktop software to the latest version I’ve had nothing but problems. And I’m not happy. I’ve recommended this printer to countless people and now I’m starting to regret doing so because I spoke to your so called customer support agents and he did nothing to help. Every time I try to print anything now it either says “makerbot smart extruders unattached” or “NO FILAMENT” when there’s clearly a full spool properly loaded in the back.i would love to work with someone to help solve my issue, but I’ve yet to have an email or phone call returned to me. Your about to lose a good customer if this isn’t resolved.


    • Jodie
      February 9, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Hi David – Can you try unloading and reloading the filament a few times to times. There is a sensor in the Smart Extruder that is activated when the extruder is out of filament, and it seems like this is getting triggered in error. Unloading and reloading a few times may help to reset it.

  • n8
    February 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    turn off retractions in the makerware! 90% of my failed prints are due to retractions stripping the filament and making it unable to re-fed through. these happen in transition areas of the print (before moves, when switching from solid to infill, etc)

    failing that, let us use a different program rather than drinking your poison kool ade makerware. let us modify the g-code again

  • Mike Williams
    February 17, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Wow, reading through the comments here is like reliving the last few months issue by issue! we have the Z18 [first one had to be replaced due to damage ‘in transit’] and its NEVER preformed to spec. Just experiencing the joys of the Smart Extruder head filament jamming……

    • Jodie
      February 18, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Hi Mike – Sorry to hear you’re experiencing jams with your Z18. Have you gotten the chance to read our 7 Tips for Better 3D Printing blog post?: If this problem does continue, we’d like to put you in touch with our Support Team.

  • Steve
    February 18, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Our office ordered a Replicator 5th Gen last July — we’re on “Smart” Extruder #5 already, and it looks like this one has also just kicked the bucket after only one successful print. This is ridiculous.

    • Jodie
      February 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having issues with your Smart Extruder, Steve. We’d like to take a closer look and help troubleshoot these problems you’ve been experiencing with it. Can you send a detailed email over to us at Thoughts(at)makerbot(dot)com. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • Bryan
    February 24, 2015 at 11:48 am

    We have gone through 8 (yes 8) smart extruders in the 6 months that we have had our printer. We were told to turn filament detection off so that the print would finish. What is the point of having a smart extruder if it cant be “smart”? We have only had 5 full prints and countless failed prints. We have blown through 2 xl spools of filament and your solution to us was to send us more extruders and only 1 large spool of filament which is only 1/4 of the amount that was wasted. Shame on you makerbot for your false advertising and misleading us!

    • Ian
      Social Support
      February 26, 2015 at 2:02 pm


      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having such a frustrating time with our products. We have a bunch of repair options that I think you’ll find more holistic than simply replacing a smart extruder again. I’m going to open up a case for you, to see what we can do to reset your experiences. I look forward to getting you sorted out.

  • io
    February 25, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Hey guys,

    I am having some issues with my Makerbot fifth generation replicator.

    The filament stopped coming out half way through a print.
    I cancelled the print and unloaded and reloaded the filament.

    My friend told me it was because of pausing the print half way through that had clogged the extruder he said to clean it.

    How do I clean my extruder?
    Do I need to remove it?

    Please help me.


    • Ian Adams
      Social Support
      February 26, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Hey Io!

      I’m sorry you’re having problems with your smart extruder.

      From what you’ve described, it sounds like you may have a filament clog in your Smart Extruder. There are a few troubleshooting steps I’d like to suggest that may help clear that out.

      1. Install the latest version of firmware onto your Replicator. This latest revision has an updated load/unload procedure. You can update the firmware via MakerBot Desktop, under ‘Devices’

      2. Try running the unload filament process. Once you’ve removed the filament from the extruder, snip the end so that you have a flat contact surface when you try and reload the filament.

      3. During the filament load process, try using needle nosed pliers to help push the filament through. In addition, try pushing the two tabs on the right hand side of the smart extruder together. Squeezing these together releases pressure on the filament and should help it feed through with more ease. Sometimes it takes a decent amount of force to dislodge a nozzle clog like the one you’re experiencing.

      A video showing this process can be found here:

      We’re going to have an tech support agent reach out to you to ensure your problem is sorted out!

  • io
    February 25, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    How do I clean my smart extruder it is blocked.

  • Mark Ungrin
    March 5, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    The current Smart Extruder is clearly suffering from fatal design flaws. When will a redesigned extruder be available, and will it be provided for free to people who bought the existing defective model?

    • Jodie
      March 9, 2015 at 11:11 am

      Hi Mark – We here at MakerBot are always looking for ways to improve and enhance the design of the Smart Extruder to give you the best 3D printing experience possible. Please stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect!

  • Zach Petersen
    March 11, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I just received two new smart extruders for my 5th Gen paperweight. Attached new extruder to start new print and BANG!!!!!! Extruder jam. Spent all day clearing it….reloaded filament, working great, goes to print raft and bang, clogged filament. Looked closely at my build platform and there are grooves in the blue tape. Spent another few hours clearing jammed filament, went to re-level the platform and it’s all level. Try to print again and same error. Please explain to me why I purchased a few of these $175 not smart extruders? I don’t want to hear or read your generic comment that you keep posting of “Hi (insert name here) – We here at MakerBot are always looking for ways to improve and enhance the design of the Smart Extruder to give you the best 3D printing experience possible. Please stay tuned to our upcoming blogs to see what changes you can expect!”

    We all payed a lot of money into this system that apparently is still in BETA! We all want real answers, not generic replies! So right now I’ve got an almost $3k paperweight on my desk!

    • Ian
      Social Support
      March 13, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Zach, I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your Replicator 5th Gen, but I’m sure we can get you sorted out. I’ve asked a support expert to reach out to you. I’m sorry if this sounds a little generic, but we try and keep things open and simple to help other customers that may have similar questions. We’ll be in touch soon!

  • Kevin Withers
    March 13, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I have stopped the filament jam errors by just turning off filament jam detection. The prints look great with no filament jams. I have however made a different top feed system on my Z18. The hose gets kinked as it feeds into the smart extruder so I fixed that issue. No filament jams, amazing quality on parts now. I can’t say enough, always update your firmware it has made a world of difference in the last month on print quality.

  • Jacques
    March 18, 2015 at 5:48 am

    I have a 5th Gen Replicator. The 1st extruder jammed after 2 prints and never went back to function despite all advices from Makerbot. I bought a new extruder which actually worked well for about 30 prints. Now I am stuck again with a jammed extruder. It’s really disappointing.

    • Ian
      Social Support
      March 19, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Hey Jacques! I’ve reached out to you in a support case. Just respond to that email and we’ll get you sorted.

  • Dave Johnston
    March 18, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Hey folks,

    Read through this list of issues and unhappy to report that we are still having extruder problems. Printer says it is jammed and will not load, makes a clicking sound like the other failure. Case needs to be reopened – [ ref:_00D30W6XV._50013lbwmW:ref ]

    • Ian
      Social Support
      March 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hey Dave! It looks like we’ve had another support agent reach out to you. Please let us know through that email chain if you run into any other issues.

  • Adam
    March 18, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    oh no, I just bought one go these, making the leap from PRUSA. Did i make a mistake? Has the issues with the smart extruder been ironed out? Seems a little expensive to spend a $175 a print for simple clogs.

    • Jodie
      March 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Adam – In addition to periodically updating our software and firmware, we’re always working on ways to improve and enhance the design of the Smart Extruder to give you the best 3D printing experience possible. If you’re ever experiencing and problems or just have a question, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. We’re always here to help!

  • Scott Dube
    March 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I have a makerbot 2, I started having clogging and jamming issues so I have replaced most of the parts. I do not have a smart extruder but from what I read, I am not willing to spend $300 for a faulty part. We bought this printer to use at the High School and it printed great for a year. Now it starts the print and the extruder starts clicking and stops printing. The school does not have $100 dollars for a bogus call to Makerbot to be told to buy a new defective extruder. What is the problem? I have read all the generic responses about how makerbot is trying to improve but that does not help the $3,000 dollar machine I have just sitting in class. I was another one that supported makerbot and told other schools to buy. I feel like a fool. I have upgraded all the software and firmware to no avail. Why doesn’t makerbot have a free tech line like most reputable companies?

    • Ian
      Social Support
      March 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      I’ve sorry you’ve been having such a frustrating time. I’m going to have one of our agents reach out to you!

  • Samuel Raumin
    April 6, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Dear Makerbot,

    Hey there. My name is Sam Raumin. I recently just got the replicator mini for my home expense, and I have a replicator 5th gen (regular) at my lab. So, I have a few observations. I had a replicator 2x and that did not do so well. But this time, I came up with some ideas for the new Makerbots… here they are:

    1. Give the guide tube some more length. (I notice when the clamp of the guide tube was put on, it had a jam problem. I soon later fixed this by unclasping the clamp for the guide tube. Also see if you can move the clamp down so there there is a straight feel to the tube)
    2. See if you guys can make it so that the guide tube has a straight end… with room, of course. (See, I also notice that when I was feeding the filament in the smart extruder, there was a big difference when I fed it in straight rather than curved…)
    3. See if you can feed the filament in the spools with a pattern…(See, when I mean pattern, I mean so that the motor doesn’t have a trouble pulling the filament from the spool. Kinda like when to wrap up a power cord, you want to wrap it up so that you can just unwrap it the next time without it getting tangled.)

    Thanks for listening. Makerbot is one of the big reasons I decided to learn at a young age (14). 🙂


    • Jodie
      April 7, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Hi Samuel – We love to hear your ideas and appreciate all of the feedback you’ve shared with us. This helps our Product and Development teams make improvements to enhance your MakerBot experience. Thank you and I’ll make sure that this gets relayed internally. Best wishes and Happy Printing!

  • Ben
    April 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I’ve had my replicator gen 5 now for about 4-5 weeks and I’ve had issues with jams from day 1. It’s so frustrating. We bought this printer as we wanted the best and while the setup, software and look of the printer are fantastic the reliability is absolutely terrible. I’ve had a number of small prints that have completed but for most jobs I get jams. I’m trying to print an important prototype as I speak, it’s been printing for 2.5 out of the planned 14 hours and it’s jammed 7 times!!! I’m really frustrated by this. I sent an email to the makerbot ‘thoughts’ email address about 6 hours ago and I’m awaiting a response. I reckon in total the printer has done less than 50 hours. We want to use it to do a big job but I’m not so sure it’s going to manage it. A real shame.

    • Ian
      Social Support
      April 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Hey Ben! I’ve reached out to you via email to get some more information. Please respond when you get a chance.

  • Jeff
    April 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    The 5th generation i horrible. Have had 5 extruders, had the printer re-manufactured, still doesn’t work. Exchanging for replicator 2. will never buy another makerbot product

    • Ian
      Social Support
      April 10, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Hey Jeff,

      I’m sorry you’ve been having so many issues. We’re dedicated to getting your expectations reset. I hope we can improve your experience!

  • Ben
    April 8, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I see my post from earlier today was removed. Fine by me as I’ll just take to twitter instead. 5 week old makerbot replicator gen 5 is currently been printing for 6hrs and jammed 18 times!!!!!!

    • Ian
      Social Support
      April 10, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Ben, went don’t remove posts for legitimate inquiries. We do moderate them, and because it’s a manual system it takes time to respond. I’m sorry if this caused you any frustration. We’re actively looking for solutions for your issues!

  • andrzej raczynski
    April 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Howdies ya’ll (always wanted to say that).

    Here’s my issue with the smart extruder: Just got this unit a few weeks ago, managed to finally get it to print a sample. Today I told it to unload filament, it did its thing while i was doing something else. Came back a minute later, couldn’t pull the filament out of the tube the rest of the way. When i took the extruder apart, i noticed the filament developed one of those tiny little ‘clubs’ at the end. Anywho, my issue is that in order to take the extruder apart, i had to take the shell off, which someone in their amateur mind seemed to think was ok to design fragile little plastic tabs to secure the two halves together. Half the tabs broke off during removal, and another one broke off during reassembly (yes, i was careful because I saw this coming a mile away looking at how fragile those tabs/clasps are).

    So with half of the clasps/tabs broken off, it still managed to stay together somehow. However, I know the next time this happens, it won’t stay together any more… I might be reduced to zip ties or something…

    All that price/engineering and they’re too cheap to use 4 bolts to hold it together 🙁

    This unit is meant to travel to schools to evaluate and see whether they would want to buy one for their own uses… I’ll give you one guess as to what they will decide when they see this smart extruder….

  • Adam
    May 9, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    My thoughts on the smart extruder. Great on paper, but you can’t give a bunch of ADHD tinkerers something they can’t take about and secretly abuse till the sun comes up. Its just not going to end well for it.
    Now, I have had my share of jams and all that. I have ordered a few of this so called “smart” extruders.
    What I will pass on is what has worked for me. After taking apart the extruder so many times it is held together with rubber bands and zip ties.
    First thing I try when printer says “Jam”. i select “Load filament” apply a little down pressure on the filament.
    If that doesn’t work I take it apart quick as there are no latches left to mess with. Remove the “burger clog”
    if this keeps happening I heat of the extruder, remove nozzle carefully, then I use a lighter and nylon filament. I get the nozzle very hot, then insert the nylon filament until the heat stops melting it. this cleans out what ever is inside.
    You could also look at the filament. Not all filament is made equal, not even Makerbots.
    I am in no way an expert these are just things i read and trial and error techniques

    recommend going back to core design and look at some kind of break action (like a shotgun) to remove clogs (burgers). Even a window would be better then nothing
    and those latches this is a clear case of go home and try it again. any other design would work better just pick one.

  • Randy
    July 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    wow… just watched a youtube video on taking about the extruder to clear a jam. Looks super easy except for those tabs. They appear to be easy to break. The fix from makerbot might be super easy to make these extruders work for end users. Remake the case with screw connection points to join the two halves of the case so we can service this thing ourselves (without breaking the tabs). It is not unreasonable to think jams are going to happen so if we can clear them in 5 minutes then no big deal. Makerbot could even publish the new cases on thingiverse and we can 3d print them. What a concept…. 🙂

    oh, and please make a smart extruder that works with flexible filament. I wouldn’t mind getting a second extruder that works for that. Isn’t that the point of having swappable extruders (other than reduced down time) ? Put in the one for the material that is being used…

    • Alex Marvar
      October 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Hi Randy, thanks for your comment and your feedback! Much appreciated. We love the printable / Thingiverse case suggestion! Thanks again.

  • Peter Jarman
    August 15, 2015 at 2:27 am

    this is how I stopped the problem with filament jams in the smart extruder

  • wayne grady
    September 26, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I purchased my z18 direct from stratus here in Australia, very happy with print quality, build size but dam that smart extruder, clog after clog after clog after clog after clog, 100% agree with you andrzej raczynski those tabs just don’t hold up after a few times being dismantled.

    why didn’t your engineers use little m2 machine screws to hold the smart extruder shell together?? why

    thanks to now owning a 3d printer i have been designing and rapid prototyping some very needed additions to this machine.

    that spool at the bottom was a big no no, too much friction on the filament through all that tubing and if the spool unrolls a bit the filament can kick up and get caught in one of the belts inside…

    makerbot support please email me on [email protected] lets work together to fix this smart extruder, i really want to let my printer print overnight without checking on it regularly to dismantle the smart extruder and fully clean it each time it clogs (yes i have multiple smart extrudes).

    i do love this printer it would be a shame if i had to return it, the z18 has so much potential, please work with me to fix it for everyone.

    keep your eye on thingiverse for my attachments like a smart extruder lock so it doesn’t detach during use. (printing my final prototype now)

    • Alex Marvar
      October 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Wayne – Thank you so much for your feedback! We’re happy you’re on a roll with your Z18, but sorry to hear about the frustrations with the extruder shell. MB Support will be getting in touch with you directly to discuss further. Thanks again – MB


Leave your comment


xhtml: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


What can we help you with today?
I want to chat with Sales.
I have a question about an existing order.
I have a technical question about my device.
Existing Orders
For faster service, enter your order number
(found in your confirmation e-mail)